Friday, 1 July 2016

Kerala 21 #1: Ijaz Rahman

At Hamza Sagar House, near Padanna, Abdul Rahman is reeling under a triple blow. He still can’t understand why his two sons and their wives left home. Or why his wife’s nephew and wife are among those missing.

“My eldest son Dr Ejas and his wife, a dental student, took their two-year-old son away, too. Ejas’s wife was carrying their second child and preparing for her final-year exam. My second son Shias, a management graduate, left with his pregnant wife, a physiotherapist,” said Rahman.

According to the family, Shias and his wife left two months ago, saying they were moving to Mumbai in search of a job. The elder couple left last month, saying they were moving to Lakshadweep for better professional prospects.

“My sons had grown very religious. At home, they would recite verses from the Quran or listen to recorded religious sermons. They had no links with political outfits. Initially, they were drawn to the Salafi stream, but later became extreme conservatives,” said Rahman.

“They were against anyone reading newspapers and watching TV. They wanted me and others to grow long beards like them. They turned their wives into hardliners, too,” added Rahman, an NRI.

“The son of my wife’s sister, Ashthaf, is also missing with his wife and son. Ashthaf was 26 and was living with his wife, daughter and mother while his father is running a business in Mumbai,” said Rahman.

THE FAMILY WORST affected is from Padanna in Kasargod. Eight of its members—Ijas, his wife Rifaila, their two-year- old son Hayan, Ijas’ brother Shiyas, his wife Ajmala, their cousin brother Ashfaq, his wife Shamsiya, their 18-month-old daughter Ayisha—have gone missing. Sayyid Mujid, Ijas’ uncle, says, “My sisters have not slept or eaten for a month.” He says all the boys had been perfectly normal till two years ago. “The first thing we saw was them growing long beards. They also asked us not to go to the polling booth during the Assembly polls,” he says, adding that Bexson, Beston and another missing person Abdul Rashid Abdulla used to come home. “Once when they started conducting Qur’an classes at home, we told them we would not allow it,” says Mujid.

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