Kerala goes soft on Simi, country pays

via published on August 21, 2008
NEW DELHI: The kerala link to the Ahmedabad blasts confirms that Gujarat has only paid for the failure, or worse, reluctance of the LDF government to act against fundamentalist elements thriving in the state.

At least two training camps were reported from the forests of Kerala, cocking a snook at the ban enforced against Simi under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004. The first camp for physical and mental conditioning of Simi cadres was held in 2006 in Binanipuram near Aluva in Ernakulam district, followed by another training workshop in December 2007 at Vagamon in Idukki district. After each of these camps, police cases were filed.

Following the Binanipuram training camp, the Kerala police even managed to round up 18 Simi activists on August 15, 2006. Of these, five were named in the FIR. They were Ansar Moulavi, Shaduli, Nizamuddin, Abdul Rafeeq and Shamas. The others were let off after questioning.

The investigations never went beyond these five arrests. Sometime later, even these five were released on bail after the police failed to bring charges against them for indulging in terrorist activity. Two of the released, Shaduli and Ansar Moulavi, also attended the second Simi camp at Vagamon, Idukki, in December and January 2007. The two would later be arrested by the Rajasthan police for their alleged role in the May 13 serial blasts in Jaipur.

Going by the statement of Kerala home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the state government was under “pressure” to set the Simi men free. “Terrorists are operating in Kerala. But their main activities are outside the state. When we took police action against some of them, there was a hue and cry from


activists saying that minorities were being targeted,” he told reporters in Alappuzha on Sunday.

The LDF government’s passive attitude and its failure to bring charges against the organisers of the Binanipuram camp emboldened Simi to hold another training session for around 40 cadres from UP, MP, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka and Jharkhand in December-January 2007. Activists were given commando


covering aspects like jungle warfare including the medicinal herbs and plants that must be consumed for survival, rock climbing and scaling and sliding using a rope.

The trainees were also taught how to avoid giving away too much information during police interrogation.
Shockingly enough, even the 2007 Simi training camp was reported to the Kerala police. A case was registered at the Mundakkayam police station on June 19, 2008, but no investigation was undertaken. Yet another reason why the Simi activists, following the intensive training, could easily re-assemble in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan and put their training to practice. And their lessons in how to dodge the police seemed to have worked when even the arrests of the Simi top leadership from Indore and Ujjain failed to yield intelligence on plans to target Gujarat and Jaipur.

According to Kerala forest minister Benoy Viswom, though his department had information on meetings of suspicious extremist elements in the jungles, the Centre had not passed on any information pinpointing the Simi sessions to the forest department.

The reluctance of the various governments in Kerala to act against fundamentalist elements in the state is not a new phenomenon. It be recalled that the Kerala assembly had in 2006 passed a unanimous resolution demanding the release of Coimbatore blasts accused and PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madani on “humanitarian and medical” grounds.

The leader, incarcerated in a Tamil Nadu jail since 1998, is said to have been ailing at the time. Not only this, CPM T K Hamza even called on the PDP leader in jail in March 2006, after which Madani announced his support for the LDF in the 2006 assembly elections.

The PDP chief was named as accused number 14 in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts chargesheet and charged with arranging the explosives and being part of the criminal conspiracy behind the blasts that killed 58 people. Madani was acquitted by the sessions court in 2007.

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