Hand-chopping: Extensive raids against NDF

via PNS | Kochi published on July 6, 2010

The Kerala Police on Tuesday intensified their hunt for the remaining culprits behind the gruesome attack on college professor TJ Joseph in Muvattupuzha on Sunday. They carried out extensive raids on the homes of the leaders of Islamic resistance outfit NDF (presently Popular Front of India). Sources claimed that the searches yielded pamphlets of anti-national character.

The police have already arrested two NDF activists for the attack. Officials said the remaining culprits would be nabbed soon. They said all the perpetrators were activists of NDF and its political wing, Social Democratic Party of India. A gang of eight had attacked Professor Joseph, under suspension since April 1 for preparing a question paper that allegedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad and Allah, on Sunday morning and chopped off his right hand at the wrist.

Meanwhile, Famous Varghese, Circle Inspector of Police at Muvattupuzha, one of the investigating officers, received a death threat over the phone from Rasheed, an NDF leader at Eramallur for holding searches at his house twice. According to the police, Rasheed threatened the officer with dire consequences if raids continued on his home. A case has been registered against Rasheed.

The police raided the house of Popular Front’s Ernakulam district secretary Mansoor at Kunnatheri near Aluva, off Kochi on Tuesday. Officials claimed that the raid yielded incriminating documents including pamphlets of anti-national character. They said certain CDs showing details of Popular Front camps had also been confiscated.

Sources said raids on offices and homes of Popular Front leaders were continuing in Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and other areas. The Popular Front had held demonstrations at Muvattupuzha the other day accusing the police of persecuting the organization and its activists. They alleged that these were parts of a campaign to polarize the Kerala society on communal lines in the name of the attack.

Police sources said certain NDF activists were already under custody and their interrogation was going on. Within hours of the attack on Joseph, the police had recovered the vehicle used by the assailants. The police had questioned more than 50 Popular Front activists at different police stations in the past three days. According to the police, eight NDF workers had directly participated in the attack, which was undertaken after weeks of planning.

The Intelligence wing of the Kerala Police has concluded that a State-wide conspiracy had led to the hand-chopping attack on the professor of Newman College, Thodupuzha, reports say. This conspiracy was hatched in several centres including Kochi, Idukki and Kozhikode. According to the Special Branch, the local leadership of the NDF in Thodupuzha and Muvattupuzha wanted to carry out the attack much earlier, but the State leadership had taken a strict stand against it, it is said.

Meanwhile, reports suggested that the main culprits behind the attack could have escaped to Tamil Nadu. It is said that the prime accused in the case could be one Yunus of Kothamangalam but he still remained untraceable. The mobile phones of Yunus and his absconding associates had either been switched off or destroyed, they suspected. It was yet to be asserted whether the two men already arrested had participated directly in the attack.

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