New Delhi: Five years after Najeeb Kunduvayil, an MTech student at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), went missing in his hometown in Kerala, a new issue of Islamic State (IS) magazine is out — Voice of Khorasan — published a story about him.
The story contains alleged details of how he reached Khorasan to join the terror group and achieved “battlefield martyrdom” on the day of his wedding.
“He never complained about the difficult life in the mountains and the only thing that concerned him was shahadat (martyrdom),” reads the article published in the magazine.
Najeeb, a Malappuram resident, went missing from his home on August 15, 2017.
According to intelligence services, on August 16, 2017, Najeeb flew from Hyderabad Airport on flight EK-525 to Dubai and from there to Syria/Iraq.
“He went missing on August 15 and took a flight from India the next day. We suspect he stayed in Dubai for some time before heading to Khorasan (a region that includes parts of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan). Then there was no news from him until this article was published in Voice of Khorasan. The piece has Najeeb’s photo — the same one that his passport bore,” a source said.
On August 17, Najeeb reportedly told his mother via the Telegram app that he had reached his “goal” and that no one should try to look for him.
“Before he left home, Najeeb got his mom to download the Telegram app on her phone and showed her how to send and receive messages. Two days after he went missing, he sent his mother a message saying not to make any attempts to find him and not to contact the police,” the source said.
according to a log in The news minuteAfter receiving the news, Najeeb’s mother went to the local police and filed a complaint, saying she suspected her son had joined the ranks of terror.
“You don’t have to look for me… I’ve achieved my goal. Here the people are like Sahaba. No other country is worth it. Don’t go to the police. There will be trouble for you, not for me. This is the final message, Inshah Allah,” reads one of the messages cited in the report.
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The draw of IS
According to security agencies, more than 150 people from Kerala have joined or tried to join ISIS in the past eight years. Many, including women, went in groups.
At least 40 other Indian nationals, members of the West Asian diaspora and around half of them children or women, are believed to be held in al-Shadadi and other camps such as Ghweiran and al-Hawl, which are run by the Syrian Democratic Forces ( SDF), as well as in prisons in Turkey and Libya.
When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, they broke open various prisons in Kabul and released prisoners, giving hope to their families in India, who thought the government could do something to ensure their return.
But like several other countries, India has opted not to provide diplomatic assistance to Islamic State prisoners – a policy aided by the lack of formal recognition of the SDF regime.
“Allah Guided Him”
According to the Voice of Khorasan Article, Najeeb reached Khorasan “alone” and not in a group and always had “a smile on his face”.
“Najeeb was one of the few among the few that Allah chose for his religion. He left his worldly comforts and all his luxuries for the sake of Allah and did it Hijra to the mountains of Khorasan. Allah guided him,” the play says.
“He came all the way from India to Khorasan alone. Nobody accompanied him. He was all alone and was 23 years old.”
Najeeb moved towards the land of “Khilafah (caliphate)” and eventually arrived at “Khorasan” “with a big smile on his face,” the play said.
“He met other people muhajireen (emigrants) who came from his own place and from different parts of the world. He was very happy to reach Darul Islam,” he added.
“He was a bachelor, so he used to live in a guest room. He was very calm and always spoke with a smile on his face when necessary. Never complained about the difficult life in the mountains and the only thing on his mind was shahadat‘ it added.
“Killed on His Wedding Day”
According to the article, Najeeb’s friends decided to “marry” him a few months after he arrived in Khorasan, but he wasn’t ready. He eventually agreed, but on the day of his wedding “the bombardment began.”
“Months passed and his friends decided to get him a bride, but he wasn’t ready at all,” the article reads. “His friends managed to get a marriage proposal from a Pakistani family and everything was decided,” it said.
“But on the wedding day, unexpectedly the kuffar (Infidels) started advancing in our area and the bombing started,” the article added.
Najeeb and his friends, the article said, “were sitting in a guest room since it was his wedding anniversary,” but Najeeb said he wanted to join the fighters in the battle.
“One side of the kuffar urged and on the other hand refused the marriage. Najeeb said – I don’t want to get married now. I want to go inghimasi (trained suicide fighters), I want to go to the battlefield,” the play reads.
According to the article, Najeeb’s boyfriend convinced him to get married, but when their leader came and asked for volunteers to go to the “battlefield,” Najeeb stood up and said, “I’m the one.”
“Everyone said there was no need to go … but he said with a smile on his face, ‘No, no, I want to go inghimasi now,'” reads the article.
“Finally everyone agreed. And then he got what he wanted and left the dying world for eternal life, gaining shahadat (martyrdom),” the play reads.
(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)
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