The mafia link of jihad in Kerala

via Pioneer News Service | Thrissur published on October 30, 2008

Goonda gangs in the
cities of Kerala were hitherto considered as hired killers,
extortionists, bootleggers and at sometimes protectors of prostitution
rackets, but never as terrorists. However, the picture has changed all
of a sudden. The police and the Government have suddenly realised that
the gangsters have a Jihadi face too as it was seen in the gruesome
incidents in Mumbai in 1993.

The gangs and gangsters in Kerala might not be as sophisticated as that of Don Dawood Ibrahim of yesteryears’ Mumbai but their resource bases, networks and reaches are far superior to Dawood’s as the Kerala Police is now coming to understand with the booking of at least one don and several buttonmen in the context of the hunt for Jihadis.

networks and reaches were bolstered by the relations with Middle-East
countries and other cities in Kerala due mostly to religious
connections. As most of these gangs were controlled by Muslim dons,
relationships with religious groups were easy, which was the main point
exploited by the terror outfits. This led to several of them becoming
recruiters of terrorists.

gangsters say that the terror groups receiving recruits from these
mafia teams must be happy as they need not give them training to
prepare their hearts to commit cruel acts as they would already be
experts in carrying out inhuman criminal acts.

also say that politicians and police have never tried to act against
these gangsters as they protected ‘businesses’ ranging from
prostitution, sand-mining and land-grabbing to manpower exports, for
obvious reasons. But now when the real faces of many of these gangs
have come into light in the context of the hunt for terror elements,
the police are finding it extremely difficult to deal with them.

mafia operation had given these gangs the confidence to act as manpower
suppliers for terror gangs. Ironically, the risk was less in this job
than in other mafia operations as nobody even doubted the existence of
a terror network in the State. And the remuneration was far higher than
that of other ‘quotation’ jobs.

Goonda gangs — known as
‘quotation teams’ for they carry out ‘jobs’ by quoting remuneration —
are the super powers in most of the top cities of Kerala, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Thrissur, but the State police
refused to look at the unseen pictures when doubts were expressed about
their possible links with elements of redoubtable credibility.

least Rs 1,000 crore of hawala money had flowed into Kerala through
inter-State borders, bank transactions and by air in the past two years
under the protective cover of these gangs. A good portion of this money
was used for buying land,seen as just a profitable investment as such
moneys could not be kept in banks, and here too the protectors were the
goonda gangs.

Suddenly, the bigger picture, the direct connection
of many of these goonda gangs with international Islamist terror
networ, is known to the police and security experts say that this is
not because the police did not have any clues but because they
preferred not to see those clues being loyal to political masters for
whom the gangs were like soldiers.

And now with the revelation
that many of these gangs have been acting as placement agencies for
terror groups like dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba, the police are left with no
choice but to make a big show of it. Suddenly, politicians and
businessmen do not want to be known as their clients.

Three of the four Malayalee militants killed by security forces in Kashmir
on October 7 had some kind of link to goonda gangs. One among them,
Muhammad Yunus alias Varghese Joseph alias Rimon, was a known member of
a Kochi gang, led by Shajahan, a Muslim known fondly as Thammanam Shaji, who had been Kochi’s Don Corleon for the past two decades.

Immediately after his detention last Sunday, Shaji told the police the name of the person, Harris of Kalamassery,
who had recruited at least 15 young men from Kochi and around for
terror groups. Harris himself was a known criminal being the first
accused in a 2001 murder case. Officials said they were baffled at the
extent of the connections of the gangsters of Kochi, which reached
Hyderabad, where Islamist centres had reportedly been working as
terror-training institutes for outfits abroad.

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