13/7: Probe extended to Kerala

via PNS | Kannur published on July 19, 2011

The Kerala Police are examining whether Malayalee extremist elements had played any role in the 13/7 Mumbai terror attack. At the same time, there are unconfirmed reports that a team from the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad is in northern Kerala to find out whether any former SIMI operatives have been in contact with the Indian Mujahiddin.

Acting upon suggestions provided by Central Intelligence agencies, the Internal Security Investigation Team (ISIT) of the Kerala Police are focusing their inquiries on Kannur and Kasaragod where SIMI had been active earlier. It is believed that the outlawed Islamist organization still has several dormant cells in these parts of the State.

As part of the inquiries, ISIT officials on Monday and Tuesday reportedly questioned certain former SIMI operatives at secret locations. Sources said that the inquiries were not based on any specific tip-offs but were part of an exercise to examine the possibilities of any connections between SIMI and IM in the particular case of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Already there are unconfirmed reports that there is a man from Kasaragod among the suspects the Maharashtra ATS has rounded up in connection with the Mumbai blasts. However, officials of the State police said they had no credible information in this regard. Muslim-majority Malappuram district and Aluva in Ernakulam also are in the focus of the ISIT inquiries.

It is said that the ISIT’s inquiries are focused on two former SIMI operatives from Kannur who had terror connections earlier but are now out on bail. Central Intelligence agencies are reportedly of the feeling that these two could have been in contact with the Indian Mujahiddin.

“We have no information at present to suggest that Islamist elements in northern Kerala have any connections with the terror groups behind the Mumbai incidents. But we are not tempted to be complacent just because of that, particularly when we consider the fact that Thadiyantavide Nazeer and most of his associates belong to Kannur,” said a top Kerala Police official.

“We are not ruling anything out but we are not jumping into any hasty conclusions either,” the official said while admitting that SIMI still had immense influence in some pockets, especially among the youth, in Kannur and Kasaragod districts. Several Islamists already apprehended for links with earlier terror attacks belonged to Kannur.

ISIT officials have already collected information on the whereabouts of several former SIMI operatives belonging to Kannur and Kasaragod in the context of the 13/7 terror attack. Officials said many of such former SIMI men had migrated to other cities and overseas after the organization was banned.

Meanwhile, reports said that officials of the Maharashtra ATS, presently on surveillance exercise in Mangalore, South Karnataka, had taken about half a dozen youths but released them after questioning. They are also collecting information about people like Iqbal Batkal, brother of Riyas Batkal.

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