Watch intensified after extremist posters appear in Kasaragod

via Pioneer News Service | Kasaragod published on September 25, 2008

The Central Intelligence Bureau and the Kerala police’s Special Branch have intensified their watch for extremist Islamist elements in the northernmost district of Kasaragod in the wake of the extensive appearance of posters and graffiti. The posters belong to several organisations including banned Islamist outfit SIMI. Intelligence personnel are confused about the nature and operations of these elements as several of the posters belonged to organisations like ‘Taliban’.

Most of the posters were seen in Kasaragod and Manjeswaram areas, known for frequent incidents of communal strife. Also, Intelligence personnel have information that several organizations with suspicious credentials are holding meeting in public and secret. It is also rumoured that even weapons training are taking place in the district.

Another disturbing development associated with this is the flourishing of mafia groups engaged in contract jobs of attacks and even murders. The facilities for easy escape into the State of Karnataka and local help from these organisations become boons for these mafia elements.

Hundreds of posters had appeared in the past one week in Kasaragod district. Apart from the posters belonging to SIMI and ‘Taliban’, there were also posters put up by Islamic resistance organization NDF (National Development Front) in the area. However, NDP functionaries had put up posters and carried out wall-writing in full view of the people. But they said they had no knowledge about the origin of the other posters and graffiti.

Writings had appeared on walls hailing SIMI, ‘Taliban’ and NDF had appeared a week ago at the bus stop shelters in Majeswaram, Udyavar and Mada in Kasaragod district and the police had removed these. But more posters had appeared in no time in these areas and elsewhere, generating doubts that the work was being carried out by people based in the localities. Most of the posters are well-produced, printed in multi-colour and designed professionally.

Sleuths are all the more worried as the poster campaigns have been happening just when the Intelligence wing of the State police was keeping a close watch on the vulnerable areas of Kasaragod district in the wake of the blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi. This has strengthened the suspicion that the extremist elements are well-entrenched in the area.

The police are getting information that these organizations are holding regular meetings in the name of various outfits in full public view and in secret. It is also said that several leaders from inside and outside the State have been participating in these programmes. The police are unable to act in many cases as such leaders could have family connections in the district and also because they get good local help.

Officials say that mafia elements working under the protection of these outfits, which have indirect support from highly influential quarters, could have played a role in the recent incidents in Kasaragod and Mangalore. The Police are also helpless in engaging an effective filter system at the inter-state border check-posts due to the strong trade ties between Kasaragod and Mangalore.

Intelligence officials say that the most of the information about the outfits is baffling because they have not even heard the names of some of these outfits so far. There are also fears that these outfits could have international connections considering the strong connections Kasaragod traditionally has with Arabian countries.

People of Kasaragod, particularly the peace-loving sections of all religions, are viewing these developments with anxiety. “Whenever something very serious happens somewhere in the country, its echo is experienced in Kasaragod. These echoes need not have any direct terrorist link, but it is a cause of worry. The impression we have is that there are some sections which are engaged in propagating violence in the name of anything. One cannot say what their objective is, but destabilization could be one of the aims,” said a trader in Kasaragod town.

He said that the workers of the outfits doing these poster campaigns and other such things could be locally based but going by the pattern, the controls could be lying somewhere else. “It seems the police are yet to get a grip on the situation yet,” he added.

The trader said that the police should be more vigilant in these matters especially in the context of reports about training camps held by SIMI in Vagamon in Idukki district. “The case of Kasaragod is far more serious. This place has had the (bad) reputation of being a manufacturing centre for fake passports of any nationality. It also have direct and deep connections with places like Mangalore and Mumbai in India and almost all cities in the Middle-East. This is also one of the places in Kerala where hawala money is in vast circulation. All these are facilitating factors for extremism,” he said.

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