The Chief Minister, who was replying to a submission raised by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, said 17 were missing from Kasaragod and four from Palakkad.

Mr. Vijayan asserted that extremism and terrorism have no religion.

“The missing persons from Kasaragod included four women and three children. Two women were among those missing from Palakkad,” he said.

These people had left their homes stating different reasons. As per the media reports, they had gone to Syria and Afghanistan and they were in IS camps, he said.

Quoting media reports, Mr. Vijayan said one Firoz from Kasaragod was taken into custody from the Mumbai airport on Sunday.

‘Will not allow anyone to exploit the situation’

The Chief Minister said the government would take necessary steps with the support of the Central agencies to tackle the issue.

“The State government is committed to taking stern action against any kind of terror activities,” he said. He made it clear that the government would not allow any vested interest to exploit the situation.

“There is also an attempt to put the entire Muslim community under the shadow of doubt. But it is well-known that a majority of people in Kerala are against any kind of terrorism and extremism. Only a very few people are showing tendencies to become part of this,” he said.

Opposition asks govt. to clarify

Taking up the issue, Mr. Chennithala said Kerala is in the grip of fear in the wake of media reports linking some youths to the IS.

However, there was no official confirmation in this regard. It was the responsibility of the State government to make clarifications and allay the fears.

BJP MLA O. Rajagopal brought to the notice of the House that a final year woman dental student from his constituency in the city has also gone missing.

CPI(M) MLA M Rajagopal who, along with Kasaragod MP P. Karunakaran, brought the matter to the notice of the Chief Minister two days ago, said a majority of the persons missing from his constituency were well educated and technocrats.

Their family members were ready to pass on any information they have to the State and Central investigation agencies, he said.