In Kerala, terror is family affair too

via VR Jayaraj | Kannur - Daily Pioneer published on December 5, 2009

Sociologists are dumbstruck by the shocking revelations that terror network is deeply entrenched in Kerala despite its accepted image of a peaceful society, but more terrifying is the fact that Islamist terror is also a family affair in the State.

Of the total 23 accused in the terror-related cases being probed by the police, at least eleven belong to three families. What is more surprising is five of them, including recently arrested LeT’s South India commander Thadiyantavide Nazeer, are members of one family. Investigators say that recruitment to the terror network from family and establishing family relationship for terror could be part of a strategy to keep secrecy of operations.

Five top terror-accused persons of Kerala come from the same family: That of Abdul Jaleel of Kadachira, Kannur, the first man to be arrested by the Kerala Police in the anti-terror offensive after the killing of four Malayalee militants by security forces in the Kashmir valley in October, 2008. All these five men have now been arrested. Abdul Jaleel was arrested by the anti-terror squad after it was established that he had been in constant touch with the militants killed in Kashmir.

Thadiyantavide Nazeer of Kannur, prime accused in at least seven terror-linked cases in Kerala and outside, is husband of a niece of Jaleel. Shafaz, arrested along with Nazeer from the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, had married another niece of Jaleel. According to the police, both are close associates in terror activities like their relationship in the family.

Jaleel’s sister Sabitha is wife of Feroze, another top terror-accused. Jazeela, Jaleel’s another sister, has been married to terror-man Majeed Parampayi, who was arrested in the early stages of the ATS’s terror-hunt. Sources in the police say that investigations are still on to find out if there are more members of this family with terror connections.

However, Fousiya, mother of Nazeer’s wife, said on Saturday that he had been cheating the family through the marriage. She said he had used the marriage to cash in on the poverty of the family and their religious faith. She added that Nazeer had not taken any dowry for the marriage.

Four of these 23 accused, including Abdul Sattar alias Sainuddin aka Sattar Bhai, the master bomb-maker of LeT and Indian Mujahiddin who had manufactured the explosives that went off in Bangalore and other cities last year, belong to the a single family. Terror Sharafuddin, now in the custody of Bangalore police, is son of Sainuddin, who belongs to Kondotty in Muslim-majority Malappuram district of Kerala.

Abdul Hakkim of Parappanangadi, Malappuram, who was one of the four militants killed by the security forces in Kashmir last year, was Sainuddin’s son-in-law. Mujeeb, fourth accused in the terror case, is husband of the sister of Sainuddin’s wife.

Two other accused persons, who are yet to be arrested, belong to another family. They are Ibrahim Moulvi of Wayanad district and his son in law. Nazeer and Ibrahim Moulvi are the said to be in charge of recruiting young men from Kerala into LeT and Indian Mujahiddin.

Police officials say that the terror-links of these people and their family connections are not coincidental but are part of a plan to keep operational affairs secret. “There are a lot of advantages when there is common and close-knit family background to the key players in terror. Such relations among them can assure that secrets remain secrets to a good extent,” said an official.

He also says that family connections among the terrorists also are a good way of ensuring unsuspected fund transfers. “Even bank officials would not have any suspicions if one member of the family transferring funds to the account of another relative. This way, fund transfer, which is almost always the first factor generating suspicion among the investigators, could be kept unnoticed,” he said.

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