Al-Qaeda tentacles seen in Kerala

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on July 9, 2010

Causing worries about the possibilities of Kerala extremists’ ominous international terror links, the State police have unearthed campaign materials of Al-Qaeda from the car of a local leader of Islamist organization Popular Front of India (formerly NDF) near Kochi.

The police said on Friday that certain CDs seized from the car of Kunjumon of Kunjunnikkara, Aluva in a raid were campaign materials of the Al-Qaeda. The CDs contained visuals of Taliban executing its Islamic court’s sentence, presumably in Afghanistan. The police registered a case under anti-terrorism provisions against Kunjumon, who was now absconding.

The raid was carried out as part of the investigations into the July 4 attack on college professor TJ Joseph in which Popular Front activists chopped off his right hand. In other raids, the police confiscated a gun from the house of activist Ayub at Thayikkattukara, Aluva.

CDs containing visuals and details of Popular Front camps and anti-national literature were found the other day from the house of Mansoor, the organization’s Ernakulam district secretary, at Kunnathery. Top police officials said the details of all the materials recovered from Kunjumon, Ayub and Mansoor would be handed over to the Central authorities.

Ashraf, arrested on Monday, had reportedly told his interrogators that the attack on the professor followed a ‘sentence’ of the Taliban-model court set up by the Popular Front. Sources said this and the recovery of the Al-Qaeda campaign materials were telling proofs of the links between the Kerala extremists and dreaded terrorists based in other countries.

On Friday, the police, in the meantime, extended the raids on Popular Front leaders’ houses and offices to districts other than Ernakulam, Idukki and Kottayam. Sources said that searches at houses of the workers of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Front, yielded weapons and documents of mysterious nature.

The weapon recovered from the house of Ayub was first thought to be a harmless air gun but it was later found that this was a version that could be modified into a lethal rifle. The police think that the gun could have been used in the SIMI terror training camp at Vagamon, Idukki. Several identity cards, mobile SIM cards and forged university certificates were also found at Ayub’s house.

The Al-Qaeda campaign CDs, containing visuals of execution of Islamic court sentences, were found in Kunjumon’s Innova car, kept hidden at a compound near his house. Several pamphlets and a laptop computer were also recovered from the car. The car was suspected to have been used by the assailants of the professor.

Meanwhile, the police issued lookout notices for three of the eight accused in the case of attack on the professor. The notices were issued for first accused Yunus, KK Ali who had purchased the vehicle used in the attack (both from Kothamangalam) and Nasser of Uliyannoor.

Joseph was attacked at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district on July 4 in the name of a question paper he prepared which allegedly contained a question that blasphemed Prophet Muhammad.

In the meantime, KM Shaji, State president of the Muslim Youth League, the youth outfit of the Indian Union Muslim League, held Home Minister and CPI(M) Politbureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan responsible for the present terror situation in Kerala. “It is not Kerala which is responsible for this. The responsibility is with Kerala’s Home Department, rather the Home Minister,” he said in Kozhikode.

Shaji said Kerala had been experiencing the after-effects of the month-long campaign by the Popular Front for Kodiyeri in the 2006 Assembly election in Thalassery where he contested as the CPI(M)’s candidate. He alleged that the police were raiding houses of low-level Popular Front leaders without acting against the top leadership in an attempt to give time to remove incriminating documents.

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