Hunt begins for SIMI outfits in Kerala

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on July 14, 2006

Central and State Intelligence have stepped up their watch on certain fundamentalist organisations in Kerala, following the serial blasts in Mumbai on Tueaday. The watch is particularly focused on organisations with links to the Union Government banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was initially said to have had a role in the serial blasts.

The State Home Department had informed the Government last month that the SIMI was operating under the cover of at least 12 known organisations in Kerala and lately, they had reportedly developed connections with Lashker-e-Tayyeba. Security measures have already been heightened, especially in the Malabar area, where explosions and explosives seizures have been taking place in alarming levels in the recent months.

In an official statement submitted on June 1 before the tribunal examining the legality of the ban on SIMI, the State Government had said SIMI activists in Kerala had ‘lately’ built up links with the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. SIMI activists had joined several prominent political organisations also, it was reported. Intelligence officials have turned their attention on CAM Basheer, a native of Ernakulam, former president of the SIMI. Basheer is suspected to be a key person behind the Mumbai blasts in 2003.

Banking on “secret and confidential” reports from the State Special Branch Police and various other agencies, the Government had said that SIMI was operating under the cover of religious study centres, rural development and research centres and institutions for developing ‘personal effectiveness’.

Some of these organisations were dispersing “extremist religious ideals” among a section of the youth in the State by acting under the guise of “counselling and guidance centres working for behavioural improvements”. SIMI activists in Kerala are reported to receiving foreign funds for anti-national activities still and they have links with some fundamentalist organisations in Kuwait and Pakistan. Kondotty in Malappuram district has been identified by Intelligence personnel as the hot-bed of SIMI activity in Kerala. The Government has also named four persons who are suspected to be prominent among those engineering the ‘regrouping and mobilisation’ of SIMI cadres in the State.

Police suspect that in the recent years, the Malabar coast has emerged as a base for extremist activism in the State. The mysterious explosions that took place in Kozhikkode in the last two years bore testimony to this. However, there are allegations that the performance by official agencies is not satisfactory. The CBI investigation into the explosion in a fishing boat in Beypore, Kozhikode, on September 17, 2004 has reached nowhere. Investigating officials could not also solve the case relating to the bomb explosion in the KSRTC bus stand in Kozhikode.

Gelatine sticks, bombs and other explosives were being seized even from the remote villages in Kozhikode district. Sources in the Home Department said that they were also keeping watch on the Mangalapuram-based extremist organisations and their suspected link with the explosions in the Malabar area.

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