Back in February, the relatives of TK Hafeesuddin (25), who hailed from Padanna in Kasaragod, received a message saying he was killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan. Two weeks ago, the family members of Murshid Muhammed, another youth from Padanna, got a text claiming the youth was killed in an attack in Afghan's Nangarhar province. And last week, a relative of Palakkad native Yahya alias Bastian Vincent, who was in his late 20s, received a message stating he has been killed in Afghanistan.

According to reports, all three messages were sent by the same man - Ashfaq Majeed, a Padanna native, who is also related to Hafeesuddin's family. It has to be noted that there has been no official confirmation on any of the deaths. The messages from Ashfaq were the only source which claimed the youths were dead, except in Yahya's case, where the Kerala Police's intelligence wing also received the same information. However, it has to be noted that none of the three youths have contacted home or anyone else after these messages were sent.

Ashfaq, who has also been sending information on other missing Keralites who are suspected to have joined the ISIS, had attached a photo of Hafeesuddin with the message claiming his death. However, the messages to Murshid or Yahiya's relatives were just plain texts, with some of the family members hoping it could be a case of mistaken identity and the youths could still be alive.

However, the police feel there is a chance that the messages were not sent by Ashfaq but someone else from his phone, after the style of writing and some of the usages in the messages had raised suspicion among Ashafq's relatives back home... which begs the question, could some of these youths still be alive? And are there deaths being faked for an unidentified reason?