CBI Sleuths join hunt for ultras

via Pioneer News Service | Kozhikode/Kochi published on October 27, 2008

Sleuths from the Central Intelligence Bureau joined the State police and its Special Branch in the investigations regarding the terror network in particular areas in northern Kerala even as the recently formed anti-terror squad continued their examinations of the detained and arrested persons.

Nadapuram and Kallachi areas of Kozhikode district are in the focus of the sleuths as these are already suspected to be the breeding grounds of terror elements. These areas are said to be strongholds of the NDF. Officials had carried out several investigations in these areas earlier following reports about presence of active operatives of the banned Islamist organisation SIMI.

Nadapuram fell into focus of the sleuths after the report of a person missing in mysterious circumstances from Edacheri village. The officials are also examining whether more people had gone missing from these areas in recent times. They said the absence of people had become a pattern that pointed to the presence of terror elements.

State Intelligence officials had carried out investigations in Kallachi after the efforts of some groups to form a students’ outfit named Islamic Students Association, which was supposed to be a reincarnation of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Even posters had appeared in Kallachi and the surrounding places on the formation of ISA.

Police officials say that Kallachi and Nadapuram, known for communal sensitivity even from long back, had become the safe underground work area for SIMI operatives after its ban in 2001. They said these areas were as important as Kannur, Malappuram and Kochi in the investigations regarding terror networks.

At the same time, the police in Kochi launched a massive investigation into the operations of goonda gangs in the context of the finding that Muhammad Yasin alias Joseph Varghese alias Rimon, one of the four Malayalee militants killed by the security forces in Kashmir valley, was a member of one of a notorious gang in Kochi.

Shajahan alias Thammanam Shaji, whose goonda gang Yasin had been working with earlier, told the police that he had no connections with any terror gangs. He said one Feroze of Kalamassery had converted Joseph into Islam and had sent to study in the Madrassa.

Shaji told the police that after he was arrested under the Goonda Act, his gang had dispersed and that it was at this time Feroze had picked him up. Feroze was the first accused in a case relating to the murder of one Babuji in 2001. The police also continued to question Harris, proprietor of Prime Travels, in connection with the conversion of Rimon into Islam.

Rimon’s (Yasin) father Alexander Joseph told the police that his son, who had dropped out of school when he as in Class V, had worked with Sahji’s gang and had many police cases on him. Alexander, who said he did not want to see the body of Rimon, said he had visited home the last time some three months ago and after that there had been no information. Three months back, he had come home to leave it after a quarrel over his conversion into Islam, the father said.

The terror group-mafia gang connection has baffled the police because such a combination was a heady mix for serious sociological fallouts, as officials themselves admitted. “In most cases, those reaching terror gangs were the poor and frustrated youth. If the terror groups have adopted recruiting them as a strategy, it should already have caused serious damages, perhaps worse than we can ever imagine,” said a DySP with Kochi police.

Kochi City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham said they were keeping a watch on certain city-based mafia gangs in the new context. He said the details of these examinations could not be revealed at this juncture as it could harm the objectives of the exercise.

The police also continued their search for Abdul Jabbar of Tirur, Malappuram, who had escaped the Army action in Kashmir with injuries even as a Jammu and Kashmir police official suggested that no militant had escaped the actions on October 5 and 7.

Muhammad Fayaz of Thayyil, Kannur, Faiz of Thayatheruvu Kannur, Abdul Raheem of Parappanangadi, Malappuram and Muhammad Yasin of Kochi were killed in Army action while they were trying to sneak through international border in Lolab valley Kashmir on October 7.

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