New Delhi: Four women among the 21 persons who left Kerala to join the Islamic State are awaiting a nod from India for their return. The women had travelled to Nangarhar in Afghanistan in 2016-18 and their husbands were killed in different attacks in Afghanistan.

In April, the head of National Directorate of Security in Kabul, Ahmad Zia Saraj told reporters that there are 408 members of the Islamic State from 13 countries lodged in various prisons. This included four Indians, 299 Pakistanis, 16 Chinese and two each from Maldives and Bangladesh.

While the Afghanistan government has begun the process of discussing with the above mentioned countries regarding their deportation, Indian agencies are not keen on having these persons back. For one, they are highly radicalised. Secondly their return could be a planned one in order to incite attacks in India, like was the case in France.

This issue had cropped up in March last year as well, when the mother of one of the operatives sought the help of the government to bring her daughter back from Afghanistan.

Nimisha alias Fathima had left India along with a group of 21 from Kerala and joined the Islamic State in Afghanistan last year. She along with three others and surrendered in Afghanistan and now want to return.

The Indian agencies have been watching these developments since the surrenders took place. The agencies have been intentionally slow in reacting as there is always a big worry with the ISIS returnees.

The chief of the ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi prior to his death had said before his death that all fighters should return to their homeland.

He had further said that with the ISIS losing territory in Syria and Iraq, it was now time for the fighters to return to their homeland and carry out attacks. These operatives are trained in do it yourself terrorism. This kind of terrorism is taught so that these operatives are self sufficient and can carry out lone wolf attacks.

Further it must be noted that in the several attacks that have been carried out in different parts of the world, most of the perpetrators who have returned to their homeland from the ISIS mainland. This was in fact very evident in the Paris attack.

Kerala is already a highly radicalised state. The state has reported the highest number of cases. It has over the years become a hub for Wahhabi activity and radical Islam has spread its tentacles far and wide in the state.

The key concern in Kerala remains Wahhabism and radicalisation. What Kerala did not realise was allowing radicalisation itself was going to become a danger to their integrity.

In such an event letting these highly radicalised persons who had the audacity to leave their homeland and join the world's most dangerous terror group in a different country come back would pose an immense danger to the state and the country as well.

The primary intent of leaving the country was not to continue fighting in Afghanistan or Syria. The move to the mainland was to train and then return with an intention of enhancing the modules and carrying out attacks. On their return, if they manage to get away, then they will radicalise the locals. If they are kept in jails then they would radicalise within the prison.

Officials also add that the ISIS modus operandi is in the procedure of completing a full cycle. It was at first thought that they were recruiting from Kerala so that they could be used in the fight at Afghanistan. However, the coordination with other agencies has suggested that many who had joined the ISIS in Afghanistan had gradually moved out of there for Syria or Turkey. Now these persons are gradually making their return to Kerala and this is worrisome, the official also explained.

The IB terms such persons as silent returnees of the ISIS. This is a new challenge for us and the vigil is high, the IB officer says. There are various routes that these recruits have been using. Those coming into India from Afghanistan had often entered into Nepal before making their entry. In these cases, the recruits are most likely to use the land route to avoid scrutiny. Once in India, it becomes easier for them to travel by road and reach their destination in Kerala.