God’s Own Country turning into terrorists’ haven

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on April 8, 2010

Reports from various law enforcement agencies and Intelligence systems indicate that Kerala, known in the sobriquet of God’s Own Country for its hitherto tranquil sociology and beautiful nature, has already turned into one of the terror hubs in India. Security experts express this apprehension despite the complacency of the State Home Department which had allegedly refused to wake up to the reality despite convincing Intelligence feeds and police records of activities of Jihadis, Maoists and extremist Dalit outfits based in the State.

Latest among such reports is the one from the Central Intelligence Bureau that at least a dozen dreaded Maoist guerillas from Karnataka have infiltrated into Kerala, escaping an encounter on the border between the two states. Though one section in the Intelligence set up believes that the mission of these communist ultras is to carry out subversive activities in Kerala, another theory says they are here to prepare for a major offensive against the nation in the Red Corridor.

“It has now become an indisputable reality that Kerala is not what it used to be a decade back. Beneath the seeming tranquility of the society of an enterprising people, the danger of subversion is lurking,” said a retired Intelligence official, a specialist in terror-watch. “Islamist terrorists, Maoists and extremist Dalits are viewing Kerala as a safe haven where they can live with a sense of security and prepare for major ‘missions’. As far as I can see, the prime reason for this sense of security is the sympathy they receive from the various sections of people and several politicians,” he said.

The IB has reported that a dozen heavily armed Maoists from Karnataka had entered the Kerala territory last week after an encounter on the inter-state border in which one extremist was killed. The group, the report says, has some dreaded women extremists and one of them had escaped into Kerala with injuries. It is said that all of them are accused in dozens of criminal cases and several of them are close associates of the People’s War.

Sources in the Kerala Police said that they had not got any credible first-hand information about such an infiltration but that they were on an investigation into this. Unconfirmed reports said various teams of Karnataka Police are already in Kerala searching for the ultras, all hailing from the South Canara region. The IB has also reported that these Maoists have has close connections with a hardliner Leftist organization in Kerala and that a journalist is providing assistance to them.

“With its sociological and political peculiarities, Kerala has all the ingredients that extremists can use for hibernation and for springing occasional surprises like the twin blasts in Kozhikode in 2006,” said the retired Intelligence official. “That is why almost all the terror operations in the country have some connection or the other to the State. On the one hand, several Leftist intellectuals have the tendency to support rebels engaged in anti-establishment activities and on the other political parties hesitate to oppose such groups considering the value of vote-banks,” he added.

A large number of Indian terrorists, including LeT commander Thadiyantavide Nazeer, involved in the Jihadi strikes of 2008 were Keralites. SIMI had held the preparatory camp for these strikes in Vagamon, Kerala in 2007. Several Kerala-based Jihadis had reported links with Tahawwur Rana. Reports had spoken earlier of LTTE efforts to set up camps in Kerala jungles and on the shores. Added to these are the latest reports on how Kerala is becoming a safe haven and training ground for the Maoists from the Red Corridor.

Security experts are convinced that there is a nexus among several former Naxalite leaders, Islamic extremists, certain rights activists and some Adivasi and Dalit organizations in Kerala. It has already been established that Maoists from Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand are in Kerala in the guise of migrant workers in the construction industry and granite quarries, mobilizing resources and acquiring explosives.

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