At least 15 youths from Kerala – 11 from Kasaragod and four from Palakkad – are feared to have joined the so-called Islamic State group in the last one month after they went missing from West Asia, reported PTI. The Indian Express reported that out of these, five are married couples of which one has a two-year-old child. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the police to start an investigation soon.

Concerned that they have been radicalised arose after their families reportedly received messages that said they have joined the terror outfit. Kasaragod District Panchayat member VPP Mustafa told PTI that during Eid, the parents of two of them received Whatsapp messages that read, “We are not coming back. Here there is Divine Rule. You also should join us.” The authenticity of these texts has not been verified.

All of them reportedly left on different dates over the past month, but are suspected to be in contact with each other. All of them were educated, some had engineering or medical degrees. According to The Hindu, they are suspected to have disappeared in groups via Dubai or Sri Lanka.

Mustafa confirmed that among those missing was Dr Ijas and his dentist wife, who had left home saying they were going to Lakshadweep. Engineer Abdul Rasheed left with his wife and a two-year old daughter claiming that they were going to Mumbai for a job.

However, Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera refused to comment on the matter. Though he did confirm that 15 youths are missing, he added, “We can’t come to any conclusions about their whereabouts. We don’t know who sent the messages and from where the messages originated. Besides, the families have not approached local police with a formal complaint.”