Intelligence sleuths intensify search for top SIMI operatives

via Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram published on August 4, 2008

The Intelligence wing of the State police has intensified its search for active operatives and sleeping cells of banned Islamist outfit SIMI in Kerala following reports that the organisation is in the process of metamorphosising into some other form.

Intelligence analysts even suspect that an organisation has already been floated on these lines under the strict control of a couple of former SIMI activists from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

There are complaints that the Special Branch personnel of the State police have been reporting on suspicious movements of certain former SIMI operatives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts but the top officials have not given adequate attention to these warnings. This has resulted in a loss of grip on the situation on the ground, Special Branch sources say.

However, a new vigour and feeling of urgency have dawned on the Intelligence set-up in the State after the recent incidents in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, Special Branch sources say. Efforts have been stepped up for closely monitoring the travels by certain former SIMI operatives who were put under the scanner recently. It is suspected that an outfit of former SIMI men had already been formed with Vadakara in Kozhikode as its base.

Intelligence officials are aware of such an initiative but they are yet to confirm the details. There had not been any official registration of such a group but since SIMI workers by nature need not feel the necessity of doing so, they believe.

The new organisation is meant to coordinate and integrate the activities of the groups and individuals who had lost the opportunity for centralised functioning. The intention is also to work in the open as a mainstream organisation. Sources in the State police intelligence say nothing is clear till now, according to their information.

Sources said there were two persons who were heading these re-grouping activities, one based in Kozhikode and one in Malappuram. Police believe that these two persons have deputed dozens of their former colleagues to reach the message to former camps in Thrissur, Palakkad, Kannur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Kollam districts, where Muslim community has considerable presence.

The police are also keeping a close watch on NDF, an Islamist resistance organisation, which is said to have extremist leanings. The effort of the Special Branch is to assess the flow – if there is any – of activists out of it. “So far there is no conclusive evidence of anything of the sort happening, but there are indications,” said a top-ranking official in the State Police Special Branch.

The State unit of the Jama’at-e-Islami has already started internal precautionary exercises to identify individuals with extremist leanings in a bid to avoid embarrassment. After SIMI had started to air extremist intentions and outlook, the Jama’at-el-Islami had severed its links with it.

With SIMI getting banned in 2001, the organisation in Kerala had virtually disbanded with the workers either shifting out of the State or preferring to remain idle. The new grouping is being attempted at on the assumption that these idle activists, most of whom are above 40 years of age, could come back into action, though not overtly.

However, the assessment of the police is that the hardcore elements are unlikely to adopt open confrontationist posture against the establishment but the preference would be to work through organisations of marginalised sections among the Muslims themselves and Dalits. This has prompted the police to keep their eyes open to the activities of certain Adivasi, Dalit and rights activists, particularly in the Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Kollam districts.

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