A man associated with controversial preacher Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation has been arrested for allegedly radicalising one of 21 people who went missing from Kerala and are suspected to have joined the Islamic State group, PTI reported. An official said, "Qureshi was arrested on Wednesday night and produced before a special court in Sewri in Central Mumbai for transit remand. The court granted the same."
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad and Kerala police arrested Arshid Qureshi from his house in Navi Mumbai after conducting a raid. Last week, Kochi Police named him in an FIR registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The case deals with a missing person's complaint filed by the family of one Merin alias Mariyam, who claim that her husband Yahiya and Qureshi had radicalised and forced her to join the terror outfit, The Indian Express reported.The missing person's case was changed to a UAPA case after Mariyam's brother Erin Jacob said Qureshi had tried to make him join the Islamic State group, as well. He also claimed that Qureshi had taken him to Mumbai to see Naik, officials told The Indian Express. Mariyam had converted from Christianity to Islam allegedly after marrying Yahiya in Mumbai.
A spokesperson for IRF confirmed that Qureshi was a member of the foundation but denied all allegations related to the terror group. "He doesn't remember introducing them to Dr [Zakir] Naik or even meeting them at the IRF office," he said, adding that IRF will cooperate with if "any assistance is sought".
Youths from Kerala's Kasaragod and Palakkad regions who went missing from West Asia in the last two months are believed to have joined the Islamic State. While Naik has been embroiled in controversy since it was reported that one of the militants behind the Dhaka cafe attack was inspired by his speeches, he was drawn into further controversy after it emerged that he had met some of the missing Keralites.