Plight of Kannur -From Maostan to Jihadistan

published on November 2, 2008

Pak-based outfits may have recruited more youth in Kerala, feel police

Pioneer News Service | Kannur

The anti-terror squad of the Kerala Police, heading the current crackdown on extremist elements in the State, has learnt that more Pakistan-based terror outfits than Lashkar-e-Taiba could have been recruiting young Keralites. This information, which is yet to be confirmed, was gathered by the police during the course of interrogation of the arrested terror operatives.

According to the information the police had gathered, most of such recruitments had been carried out from Kannur, Kasaragod, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Aluva in Ernakulam district, Erattupetta in Kottayam district and Karunagappally in Kollam district. It was also learnt that Yahia of Iritti, Kannur, for whom a manhunt had been launched by the police, was one of the main links between Kerala and Pak-based groups.

Even Jaish-e-Muhammad had been recruiting young men from Kerala for training in Pakistan, sources said. The police also confirmed that the four Malayalees – Muhammad Yasin, Muhammad Fayaz, Faiz and Abdul Raheem – killed in Kashmir early in October had received terrorist training in Pakistan. The inference so far had been LeT, whose recruiter, the arrested ultra Muhammad Faizal, was alone had been recruiting terror manpower from Kerala.

With this new finding, the anti-terror squad intensified its search by modifying search methods. The police also found that Mani from Tamil Nadu, arrested a few days ago, was converted to Islam by CAM Basheer of Aluva. Mani, who was christened Yusuf during conversion, was arrested from his wife’s house in Ayippuzha, Kannur.

According to former Research and Analysis Wing director Hormis Tharakan, who was also former Director General of Police, Kerala, CAM Basher was the first extremist from Kerala to get training in Pakistan and this was way back in 1992. Basheer is still in hiding. Sources in the police said details of several things could not be divulged as they were highly sensitive and were crucial to national security.

An NDF activist and two young men from Jharkhand, taken into custody from Tanur, Malappuram, on Saturday night, were released on Sunday evening after questioning. Those who were taken into custody were Moideenkutty alias Kunjootty, the local reporter of NDF organ Thejas daily in Tanur, and Vijay Shankar Prasad and Ravikant Kumar, to young men from Jharkhand.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s State president K Surendran accused PDP chairman Abdul Nasser Madani of being the first man to send young men from Kerala to Pakistan for terrorist training. Surendran told newsmen in Kozhikode that former Kozhikode City Police Commissioner had submitted this before the commission investigating the Marad massacre case. He added that the then UDF Government and the present LDF Government had failed to conduct a proper and serious investigation into this aspect.

Madani denied the allegation and threatened to drag Surendran to court for his statement. He said in Kozhikode that the Yuva Morcha leader was making baseless allegations, adding that he must support his allegation with proof. Madani said that the Coimbatore court had dismissed all such allegations. He stated that he was ready to withdraw from public life if Surendran could prove the allegation.

Meanwhile, leaders of mainstream political parties continued their war of words over the issue of who was responsible for the spread of terror networks in Kerala. State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said that the NDF votes had been cast in favour of the CPI(M) in the last election.

He alleged that Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had won the last Assembly election in Thalassery constituency with the votes of the NDF. “This is no secret,” he said. Due to such reasons, the CPI(M) could not take a firm position against outfits like NDF, he said in Alappuzha.

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