LeT recruited over 300 Kerala youth, admits Faizal

via Daily Pioneer | Kannur/Kochi published on October 27, 2008

The extent of entrenchment of dreaded Pakistan-based terror gang Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Kerala seemed to be of horrifying magnitude with arrested LeT recruiter Faizal admitting to the police on Monday that the outfit had recruited at least 300 persons from various parts of the State. The Kannur police on Monday took into custody two persons, said to be in charge of recruitment under the direct instructions from LeT.

The anti-terror squad of the police, led by S Sreejith, Superintendent of Police, Kannur, was continuing their interrogation at an undisclosed facility even by late evening. According to information provided by Faizal, arrested last weekend, these two persons were in charge of drawing up recruitment schedules, facilitating exchange of the recruits and deciding the spending pattern of money involved in the recruitment.

These two persons were reportedly responsible for recruiting Faizal himself, who had in turn recruited Muhammad Fayaz of Thayyil and Faiz of Thayatheruvu, Kannur, who were among the four Malayalee militants killed by security forces in Lolab Valley, Kupwara Sector, Jammu & Kashmir. Police officials, however, refused to divulge more information about the two persons.

Investigations parallel to those in Kannur continued in Kochi, where the police had already taken into custody three persons in connections with the conversion into Islam and recruitment to terror group of Muhammad Yasin alias Varghese Joseph alias Rimon, the third militant to be killed in the Valley on October 7, who belonged to Chakkarapparambu, Ernakulam.

The police were also looking for Abdul Jabbar, rated as a top Lashkar operative from Tirur, Malappuram, who had escaped the October 7 action in Lolab Valley with injuries and who was said to be instrumental in recruiting Abdul Raheem of Chettippady, Parappanangadi, Malappuram, the fourth militant to die in the Army action in Lolab Valley.

Both Jabbar and Raheem were accused in the case relating to the burning of a Tamil Nadu State bus at Kalamassery, off Kochi, on September 9, 2005, in a bid to put pressure on Governments to facilitate the release of PDP chairman Abdul Nasser Madani who was then lodged in a Coimbatore prison in connection with the serial bombings in the Tamil Nadu city which had targeted BJP leader LK Advani.

The police in Ernakulam took into custody goonda master Shajahan alias Thammanam Shaji, in whose gang slain militant Varghese Joseph was a member before converting into Islam as Muhammad Yasin. But Shaji told the police that he had no information about Varghese after he was arrested under the Goonda Act when his gang was dispersed.

However, he said he knew Feroze of Kalamassery was the man who had recruited him by converting him into Islam. Shaji said Feroze had converted several members of his gang into Islam.

Feroze, first accused in a murder case and a relative of top NDF activist Abdul Jaleel of Kannur who was arrested on October 19, was being interrogated in Kannur. The investigators had identified seven of the total 15 persons he had recruited to the terror group through conversion. Feroze was the person who had taken Yasin to Hyderabad. Another person, Harris, with connections with the dead militant also was interrogated on Monday.

According to Faizal, the LeT had recruited a minimum of 300 young men from Kerala, and got them trained in Hyderabad. He told the police that the master recruiters used to come from places like Hyderabad and Bangalore and used to spend enormous amounts of money for the operation. Most of these recruitments were done from Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kasaragod and Ernakulam districts.

He told the police that the recruits from Kerala were taken to Hyderabad first where they were given training in physical fitness, martial arts and firearms and also in languages like Hindi and Urdu. Intelligence officials started examinations to know whether the training camps held by SIMI operatives in the high-altitude Vagamon resort in Idukki district in December last had any connection with this.

According to sources in the police, investigators had been sent to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Mumabi to verify the veracity of the revelations by Faizal, who was on Monday afternoon admitted to the Medical College Hospital, Pariyaram, Kannur after he developed health complications amidst interrogation.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Sreenivas, in charge of the area where the militants were killed said no terrorist had escaped the security forces’ actions on October 5 and 7. He also told the media that the security forces had not yet confirmed whether the militants belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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