02 December, 2020

Empty Looks Don’t Explain

The homegrown ‘ISIS men’ had nothing in their background and environs urging jehad

Amit Haralkar
Empty Looks Don’t Explain

Late afternoon at Doodh Bazaar, the daily ritual of queuing for fresh milk from the nearby tabelas (stables) gives no indication of sinister undercurrents, if any. Or that four youths who lived here disappeared on a supposed religious trip to Iraq in May, reportedly to join the ISIS. Or that one of them, Areeb Majeed, presumed dead in August, has returned to India and is now in the custody of the National Inves­tigation Agency.

Several thousand Muslim families have been living in and around Bail Bazaar, Ghas Bazaar and Doodh Bazaar for decades. Some say Muslims have been in Kalyan for over three centuries. Stories of communal harmony between Marathi-speaking Hindus and Muslims are aplenty. Even when riots took place in neighbouring Bhiwandi, Kalyan stayed calm. So how was it that this middle class, largely peaceful neighbourhood raised four boys who were indoctrinated enough to enlist with the most successful terror group today in West Asia, the ISIS?

Areeb returned to India on November 28 from Turkey with the help of Indian authorities. A criminal case under...



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