Security agencies launch probe into Maoist-Islamist links

via Pioneer News Service | Palakkad published on October 4, 2008

The Kerala Police, its Intelligence wing and the Central Intelligence Bureau have launched an intense operation to identify the relations of certain Maoists operating in the State and the activists of Islamist organisations and individuals who were formerly workers of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the banned Islamist outfit.

The operation, which has not yet formally assumed a joint nature so far, is to find out the nature of cooperation among the Maoists, workers of Islamic resistance organisation and former operatives of SIMI, who had after the ban on it joined other organisations or started to work under newly constituted forums.

They are also looking into matters like whether there had been any joint operations so far in Kerala, whether there had been any exchange of material and information and whether they had any plans for the future to work in unison.

Sources indicated that the arrest of Mundur Ravunni, State convener of Porattam (Battle), a Maoist organisation which was yet to relinquish the theory of violent revolution, had connections to this effort of the police and intelligence agencies. Though the Palakkad police had arrested Ravunni, who had already served several years of prison term for Naxalite actions decades ago, in connection with Porattam’s own operations, sources said that the real intention behind it was to inquire about the outfit’s relations with Islamist organisations.

Ravunni was arrested after he was called into the Palakkad police station to ask him about a petition he had filed with the State Human Rights Commission against the arrest of two young Porattom workers, one Vinod from Palakkad and one Sunil from Thrissur districts. They were held by the Agaly police from the Attappady area for suspected relations with the Maoists of Nepal. However, the young Maoists had got bail from the Kerala High Court.

Porattam is the only extremist Communist organisation which still follows the path of revolution as envisaged by Mao Zedong while all other Naxalite groups have either adopted democratic approach or given up the model of the Naxalbari uprising as the guiding force. Porattam is also immensely interested in the issues related to Adivasis and Dalits in the State.

According to sources in Porattam, Ravunni was lured to the police station with a written summons to appear there for some questioning in relation to his petition to the Human Rights Commission.. They said once inside the police station, the personnel there detained him under instructions from the District Superintendent of Police.

Two months ago, Ravunni, in the name of Porattam, had acted as the chief organiser of a convention in Kozhikode, called to search for the possibilities of cooperation among extreme Leftist organsiations, Dalit outfits and Muslim groups outside mainstream politics like the NDF, Jama’at-e-Islami, and several others which were not popular outside the Muslim circles. Some Muslim organisations among them were constituted of people who were formerly activists of SIMI and NDF itself was said to have several former SIMI operatives in it.

The convention, however, failed to take place as several of the organisations invited into it did not turn up. The NDF had sent its delegates but this became one of the reasons for the absence of organisations like the Jama’at-e-Islami. The idea of the convention was to find common areas where all of them could cooperate.

Even before that, Intelligence officials had informed the police of the possibility of Maoists cooperating with Dalits and extreme Islamist elements. They had seen Kerala as an appropriate place for such cooperation with its political and intellectual backgrounds. Earlier there were allegations that there were Maoist elements in the Adivasi movement that led to the violent police action in Muthanga in February 2003. Movement’s leader M Geethanadan himself was a known Maoist once.

Kerala, which had seen a large number of instances of Communist extremism after the 1967 upheaval in Naxalbari, West Bengal, does not have many Left extremist outfits presently. A good number of followers of Mao had either withdrawn from the path like thinker-sociologist K Venu had done or had deviated totally from the movement or politics itself like Vellathuval Stephen and Philip M Prasad had done.

The other prominent Left extremist organisations currently working in Kerala are the CPI(ML) led by KN Ramachandran and the CPI(ML) Red Flag headed by Jayakumar. Ramachandran’s party is now mostly engaged in Adivasi issues while the Red Flag is actively pursuing the issues in mainstream politics. The latter had suffered a serious setback when a large group of its leaders and activists had left the party and joined the CPI(M).

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