Red capital Kannur is Kerala’s terror hub too

via VR Jayaraj | Kannur published on December 10, 2009

Kannur, the Marxist heartland of Kerala, has always been known as the capital of political terror in Kerala due to the hundreds of murders that have taken place in the district, with the CPI(M) almost always on one side of the conflicts. But now Kannur is proving to be the capital of Jihadi terror, thanks to the revelations by Kannur native Thadiyantavide Nazeer, South India commander of the LeT, to his interrogators in Bangalore and the arrests of his several associates in Kannur.

Four more aides of Nazeer were arrested from Kannur by the police on late Wednesday night and Thursday morning. With this, the total number of terror elements arrested from Kannur on the basis of the information provided by Nazeer during questioning in Bangalore rose to five, establishing that Kannur is the capital of Jihadi terror in Kerala and, to an extent, a major centre for Islamist conspiracies in the entire South.

The special investigation team headed by Superintendent of Police Anup John Kuruvila arrested Sharafuddin (38) of Kannur town and Rahnas (27) of Thayyil late Wednesday night. Afsal (28) of Chakkarakkallu and Muthalib of Thalipparambu were arrested on Thursday morning. On Wednesday, the Karnataka Police, with the assistance of their Kerala counterparts, had arrested Shameer (24) of Poovam, Thalipparambu.

Investigators are of the opinion that the persons arrested so far could be just a few in a huge network of Jihadi terror based in Kannur. “Nazeer and his associates could not have worked here in a vacuum. Operations of such dimensions are impossible without elaborate local assistance, which would mean that their network in Kannur is far more extensive than what we have imagined so far and what have so far come to light,” said an official of the Kerala Police.

“We know that the manpower of the LeT and Indian Mujahiddin has been drawn from different areas in Kerala but the hub seems to be Kannur. It may not be simply the hub of terror for Kerala but indications are that it could well be one of the main operational bases of these groups in entire South India,” he added.

Police officials said that more arrests were likely and that they were questioning several young men suspected to have had connections with the LeT boss. Raids by police for concealed explosives also continued through Thursday on the information that large quantities of ammonium nitrate were kept buried in various parts of Kannur.

Shameer was arrested for arranging accommodation for Nazeer in Bangalore when he had reached there to plant the bombs that went off in the garden city last year. Shameer had been working in Bangalore then and presently he was an employee at a steel company in Poovam, Thalipparambu. The Karnataka Police took him to Bangalore for interrogations.

Sharafuddin had smuggled an AK-47 assault rifle that arrived in Kannur from Hyderabad to Wayanad. The rifle was brought for use in the terror training camp that Nazeer had held in Somavarpetta in Coorg district of Karnataka. The gun was brought from Hydeabad to Kannur by Faizal of Chanthintavide, Kannur, the second accused in the terror case registered by the Kerala Police, and Mujeeb of Chakkarakkallu, fourth accused.

The gun was taken from Kannur to Wayanad to be smuggled out to Coorg on the Kerala-Karnataka border in the three-wheeler pick-up vehicle of Sharafuddin. He had taken the gun to Wayanad, packed in a sack after disassembling it, reportedly on the instruction of Nazeer. In Kannur, the AK-47 was kept at the house of Shafaz, Nazeer’s relative, whow as arrested in Meghalaya along with him.

According to information, Rahnas had participated in the terror classes held by Nazeer and others at Neerchal, Kannur. His name had been entered as the fourth in the list of participants seen in a diary seixed by the police from the building where the classes were held in a raid conducted earlier.

Officials said that Afsal and Muthalib, arrested early Thursday morning, had transported explosives to various places as per the directions given by Nazeer. They aid that these terror men had planted bombs and carried out small explosions in several places in Kannur. Information was that two of their associates had fled to the Gulf after reports on the killing of four Malayalee militants in Kashmir came out.

Meanwhile, the police recovered a kilo of unclaimed ammonium nitrate from Chakkarakkallu in Kannur on Thursday in a raid conducted by the anti-terror squad based on information received from Nazeer in Bangalore. The terror-grade explosive material was seized from a residential plot in Chakkarakkallu.

Investigating officials said that they were yet to get the details of the role of Nazeer and his associates in the explosion that took place at a chicken shop in Thazhe Chovva, Kannur last year and the hiding of steel bombs in Narath.

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