Four more Popular Front terrorists under arrest , Jihadi Parade banned in Palakkad also

published on July 22, 2010

Attack on Prof: Four more arrested
VR Jayaraj | Kochi
Daily Pioneer

The Kerala Police on Thursday arrested four more functionaries of the Islamist Popular Front of India (formerly NDF) as accused in the case pertaining to the July 4 attack on a college professor. With this, the number of arrested accused in the case went up to 13. The arrest of the four NDF functionaries followed the interrogation of Yunus, fourth accused, who was arrested on Wednesday.

Those arrested on Thursday were Latheef of Aluva, Shiyas, Muhammadali, both from Kothamangalam, and Moideenkutty of Valanchery in Muslim-majority Malappuram district. Latheef is said to be the man in charge of the Popular Front unit in Kalamassery off Kochi, Shiyas a divisional secretary and Muhammadali and Moideenkutty were functionaries in their respective areas.

The main charges against them were of holding back vital information regarding the plan for the attack on the professor and providing assistance to the perpetrators to escape. Sources in the police said these four persons had prior knowledge of the plan to attack Joseph and had also provided help for the assailants, including financial assistance. The Judicial First Class Magistrate Court remanded the four accused in judicial custody for 14 days.

Moideenkutty was accused of helping the perpetrators get shelter in Malappuram district while sources said Shiyas was a close associate of Yunus, who was arrested on Wednesday. It is also said that Yunus, who was holding several key positions in the Popular Front setup, had told Shiyas about the plan to attack the professor in detail. Officials from the Central Intelligence Bureau joined the Kerala Police in questioning Yunus on Thursday.

Yunus had told the police that first accused Nasser had masterminded the attack on the professor, in which the assailants cut off his right hand, sources said. He also revealed that he had organized the manpower needed to carry out the attack on July 4 and had helped the perpetrators escape the scene as per directions from Nasser, they said.

Nasser was the divisional secretary of the Popular Front in Aluva, according to the police. The police had issued lookout notice for Nasser along with those for KK Ali, the man who had bought the Maruti Omni vehicle from a man in Thrissur to carry the assailants to Muvattupuzha where the professor was attacked.

According to Yunus, seven assailants had reached the spot of attack as a team in the vehicle, police sources said. While one person remained in the vehicle to observe the surroundings, six men carried out the attack, they quoted Yunus as saying. Yunus was arrested on Wednesday at Palakkad while he was returning from Nagoor in Tamil Nadu.

At the same time, there were reports that the police had taken Ayub, yet another Popular Front operative, into custody from Aluva. He was charged for economic offences after the police and Sales Tax officials raided his jewelry shops at Aluva and Perumbavoor earlier in the week. In an earlier raid on his house, the police had confiscated a gun.

Meanwhile, Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said in Delhi that a decision on banning the Popular Front would be taken only after confirming whether it had any relations with outlawed Islamist outfit SIMI. The State Government was waiting for the report on this from the NIA which was looking into cases involving SIMI.

In the meantime, The Palakkad District Collector on Thursday banned the Freedom Parade the Popular Front had planned to hold in Pattambi on the Independence Day on the basis of a report of the Superintendent of Police. The respective district authorities in Ernakulam, Kottayam, Kannur and Kozhikode had banned the parade earlier on the basis of Intelligence reports that the show could lead to law and order problems.

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