Kerala turns recruitment base for terrorists

via Pioneer News Service | Kannur published on October 23, 2008

The Kerala Police has intensified searches for Islamist sleepers in Kannur and other parts of the State in the context of the arrest of NDF activist Jaleel of Kottoor, Kadachira, Edakkad in the district even as the officials confirmed that the two militants killed in Lolab valley in Kashmir on October 7 in an encounter with security personnel belonged to the State.

The two militants killed were Faiz of Thayyil in Kannur and Abdul Raheem of Chettippadi in Malappuram district. Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that an Intelligence SP from Kerala had confirmed the identity of the Keralites after inspections in Kashmir. The bodies of the slain militants were being kept by the Jammu and Kashmir police and they were ready to hand over them if the relatives so desired.

The police officials had reportedly got enough evidence to conclude that both Faiz and Raheem had connections with terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

They said Raheem was one of the accused in the case relating to the burning of a Tamil Nadu State bus at Kalamassery near Kochi on September 9, 2005. It was suspected that four militants from Kerala had been killed in Kashmir.

A huge police team led by S Sreejith, Superintendent of Police Kannur, and James, SP from the special anti-terror squad, on Thursday held a raid at Faiz’s house in Thayyil. In the two-hour search at Faiz’s house, the police team recovered certain implements used in martial arts training, identity cards and some photographs. It was the interrogation of Jaleel that had formed the basis for the confirmation of reports about Faiz and Raheem.

The police said there could be more such raids in the district and elsewhere.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan indicated that recruitment to terror outfits could be taking place in Kerala by stating that the police were examining such possibility. Asked whether there would be any move to ban Islamist outfit National Development Front (NDF), he said banning any outfit was not the prime consideration but the focus was on finding out the terror elements and their network.

Relatives of Faiz said he had gone out of the State in search of employment two months ago. His mother said a person named Faizal, a native of Kannur, had taken Faiz away from home on the tenth day of Ramadan saying he was being given the job of teaching Quran in Ahmedabad. He had also said that it would be impossible to telephone home while he was on job, she said. She added that Faiz had not contacted home since then.

The police were now convinced that Faiz had been contacting Jaleel in Kannur from wherever he was. The assumption was that one of the persons who had contacted the NDF activist had done so from Kashmir. Jaleel had known Faiz earlier and they had gone for painting work together.

The police would also hold searches in Edakkad, the native place of Jaleel, to find out if he had contacted other persons in the area with regard to extremist designs.

Sources in the SP office in Kannur said at least 60 young activists of the NDF were in the watchlist of the special squad.

The special squad of the Kerala Police, formed recently for the exclusive purpose of dealing with terror and extremist elements, was also seeking the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Bureau and the Indian Army. What was worrying the police here mostly were the reports that Kerala had become a ground for recruitment of operatives for terror outfits functioning in other States, including the extremist-infested Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the suspicion that militants elsewhere had been using Kerala as a base for recruiting operatives for actions in other States had strengthened. Two of the four pro-young SIMI men arrested recently in Aluva and Thrissur districts for participation in a SIMI meet near Kochi on August 15, 2006, had reportedly been acting as recruiters.

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