Son suspected to have joined Islamic State, Kerala man declared hostile witness

Sadaf Modak
His father had registered a complaint that the IRF employee, Arshi Qureshi, had allegedly influenced his son and his family to join the Islamic State. (Representational Image)

The father of a Kerala man who allegedly left the country to join the Islamic State was declared a hostile witness on Monday in a trial against an Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) employee.

The Kerala man has been missing from the country since 2016, along with his wife, one-year-old daughter, brother, cousin and their families. His father had registered a complaint that the IRF employee, Arshi Qureshi, had allegedly influenced his son and his family to join the Islamic State.

But on Monday, the father denied registering a complaint against Qureshi. He denied his earlier statement where he had said he had often overheard his son talking on the phone about an “Arshi bhai” from IRF.

“After I returned from Umrah (religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia) in 2016, I learnt that some persons from our village, including my son, have gone missing... They left India but I do not know where they went,” the father said. “It is not correct to say that I had heard my son talk on the phone around me. I do not know anything about IRF, nor about Arshi,” he said during his examination-in-chief by the NIA prosecutor.

Qureshi was chargesheeted by the NIA in March 2017 for allegedly providing support to the Islamic State and furthering its activities in connection with the missing Indians from Kerala.

When the complainant was shown the FIR filed by the police, he admitted that he had signed it, but added he was not aware of its contents as he had neither read it, nor was it read to him. He said he had heard about the IRF when the police called him for questioning and asked him about the IRF.

His examination-in-chief will continue next week. Last year, the Kerala man’s mother was also declared hostile.