NIA To probe Kerala Taliban

published on March 13, 2011

NIA takes over Prof attack probe
VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram – Daily Pioneer

After several months of uncertainty, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided to probe the Taliban-model Islamist attack on college professor TJ Joseph in Muvattupuzha, Kerala. The agency has taken over the probe following the reported findings about terror connections and influence of foreign funds behind the incident.

The NIA had earlier refused to take over the probe as the Kerala Police had failed to include offences that came under the purview of the agency. However, such charges were included following massive allegations of foul play by the police in the investigation. Reports said that the NIA took over the probe on the basis of specific instructions from the Union Home Secretary.

Unnirajan, Superintendent of Police heading the current probe into the incident, has confirmed the report of the NIA take-over of the investigation. However, he said that no official information had been received so far on this. The details of the case with the police would be handed over to the NIA once the official information from the Union Home Ministry came, he said.

Islamists belonging to the Popular Front of India chopped off the right hand of Joseph, a Malayalam professor of Church-run Newman College in Idukki district’s Thodupuzha on the morning of July 4 at Muvattupuzha. They attacked the professor for preparing a question paper that allegedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad.

Observers say that the NIA’s decision has justified the complaints about the way in which the police probe into the incident has been progressing. The agency is taking over the investigation in a situation where no serious actions are being taken by the State police despite the fact that several aspects related to the professor attack case had been transferred to the newly formed Internal Security Investigation Team.

The Central probe agency could be bringing in serious charges like anti-national activity and waging war against the nation against the accused. The chargesheet prepared by the special probe tam of the Kerala Police had found terror links behind the attack. The agency is also likely to look into the links between the Popular Front and several top personalities in the State.

The Kerala Police’s probe into the incident had literally dragged on for several months before they were forced due to criticisms to submit the chargesheet six months after the attack. Though the police had found 54 activists of Popular Front and its political wing SDPI as accused, they had named only 27 – of which several were yet to be arrested – in the chargesheet filed on January 14.

The police had then said that the chargesheet against the remaining 27 would be submitted later. Even then, there were complaints that the chargesheet was weak and there were conscious efforts on the part of the police to protect some heavyweights involved in the case. Also, the delay in filing the chargesheet had helped several of the accused secure bail from the court.

The attack on the professor had captured the attention of the entire nation due to the brutality with which it was perpetrated and its possible international connections. There were reports that the attack was carried out as per the decree of a religious court. The police had unearthed CDs containing visuals of disgusting execution of Taliban’s death sentences from the residence of an accused.

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