Twenty-three-year-old Arif Majeed from neighbouring Kalyan, who until now was believed to have been killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria, returned to Mumbai today and is being interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) here.
In May this year, four youths from Kalyan town — Arif Majeed, Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Shaikh and Aman Tandel — had left India to visit holy places in the Middle East, but disappeared thereafter. They were suspected to have joined the middle-east terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Arif returned this morning and is being quizzed by the NIA, a police officer said.
His family friend Iftekhar Khan told PTI, “Arif’s father Ejaz received a phone call from security agencies this morning saying his son is in Mumbai.”
Maharashtra ATS, which had earlier questioned the family members of the youths, is also in touch with the NIA over the return of Arif to Mumbai, sources said.
According to police, the four engineering students flew to Baghdad on May 23 as part of a group of 22 pilgrims to visit religious shrines in Iraq. The next day, Arif had called his family from Baghdad and apologised for having left without informing them. Upon returning to India, other pilgrims had told the police that, Arif, Fahad, Aman and Saheen had hired a taxi to Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad which had emerged as the epicentre of Iraq’s deadly insurgency.
“On August 26, Tanki called up Arif’s family and told them that their son had become a “martyr” claiming that the latter died fighting for ISIS in Syria,” a family friend Ateek Khan had told reporters.
Accordingly the next day, Arif’s family performed ‘Janaza-e-gayabana’ (prayers for the departed soul in absence of the body) in Kalyan.
Recently, Arif’s father Ejaz Majeed had reportedly met the NIA and told them his son had fled from the IS-controlled areas to Turkey after fighting for the militant group for nearly three months and wants to return to India.