Police seek more information on IS-linked Kerala woman

Nimisha Fathima, and, right, Sonia Sebastian.
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Nimisha Fathima, and, right, Sonia Sebastian.
Nimisha Fathima, and, right, Sonia Sebastian.

Keralite among fighters who surrendered in Afghanistan

The Kerala police have sought more information on Nimisha Fathima, a Keralite, who is suspected to be among a group of Islamic State (IS) fighters who are in the custody of Afghanistan law enforcement in Khorasan province.

Officials said Fathima and her husband, Isa alias Bexin Vincent, had converted to Islam in 2015, got radicalised and fled to join the IS in Afghanistan when she was pregnant in July 2016.

The possibility that the trained dentist might be alive in the combat zone surfaced when the National Investigation Agency (NIA) called on her mother, Bindu Sampath, recently, and showed her a set of photographs of foreign fighters and their families in the custody of the Afghanistan government.

Ms. Bindu said she had identified her daughter amongst them. Earlier, Central agencies had flagged the possibility that Sonia Sebastian, 33, alias Ayisha, a resident of Kasaragod, believed to have joined the IS along with her husband could be in the same group.

Officials said Fathima and Sonia were among several Keralites who had left the State to join the IS in Syria and Afghanistan during the 2014-16 period.

Online mobilisers of the IS appeared to have convincingly sold them the allure of living in an idealistic Islamic State.

The police believe that the families from Kasaragod, Kannur and Palakkad possibly travelled to IS-held territory in Syria and Afghanistan via Sri Lanka with the help of local recruiters.

The “IS defectors” were mostly a zealous amalgam of recent converts and hardened Islamists, many of them skilled workers, an official said.

The police suspect that Nimisha, a Hindu who hailed from near Attukal temple here, had converted to Islam while attending a private dental college run by a Muslim trust in Kasaragod.

A Salafist organisation here had aided the conversion along with some of her college mates.

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