Now a street in Kerala named “Gaza”: Radicalisation in overdrive mode

gazastreetA street in Kerala has been named Gaza and this has caught the eye of the Intelligence Bureau. The street in the Thuruthi ward of the Kasargod municipality was named Gaza in an apparent reference to the disputed strip of land between Israel and Palestine.

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Cracking terror in Kerala is no easy job

Kerala has considered to be a ticking bomb in terms of terror activities. Although there have been no major incidents that have been reported from Kerala, security agencies believe that it will continue to remain a fertile ground for terrorists and would always be a launch pad for subversive activities.

The dynamics relating to terrorism in Kerala has always been attributed to the politics over there. Many feel that hard core organisations which work under various names in the state enjoy political support and hence most of their activities go under the carpet with no action being taken.

The Students Islamic Movement of India has been the strongest group in Kerala and is considered to be the funder for many other groups in the country. In fact four years back there were two men from this group who were seen fighting in Kashmir alongside the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

Before getting into the activities of SIMI it must be made clear that this organisation had gone through a two way split. There was a radical side to this outfit following the ban which was largely responsible for the birth of the Indian Mujahideen. While the activities of the SIMI were curbed a great deal in many states, Kerala continued to be a problem for security agencies to deal with.

A source in the National Investigating Agency told that they have found that such groups are working under different names and this is making the job of cracking down on them even more harder. These groups have their strong holds in the areas of Kasargod, Mallapuram, Kozhikode and Kannur. There are the likes of Abdul Nasar Madani who continue to support such groups and often get away due to political support. NIA sources say that many of these groups have a legitimate tag to it thanks to their political affiliations and hence they get the required protection. In turn groups such as the SIMI use this to their advantage and carry out their activities under the protection of these political banners.

In the above mentioned four areas, Intelligence Bureau officials have found at least 30 such groups. They operate under different names. On the face of it they all look like legitimate groups, but under the very same banner they continue to carry out activities which are not in the interest of the nation. Right from a hawala transaction to recruitments and providing foot soldiers to outfits from other groups and also logistics, these groups continue to remain active, sources also point out.

This fact has been taken note of during a meeting of the NIA which was held at Kerala recently. During the meeting they also discussed the manner in which to neutralise these groups. The threat of a naxal invasion too was discussed.

However the biggest worry today is the increase in the activities of Bangladeshi based groups in Kerala. They have the requisite base and apart from SIMI, there have been very strong traces of the HuJI too in Kerala. T Nasir was one such example of a HuJI presence and during his investigation it was clearly seen how he was in touch with Madani a political face and got away with his operation with such ease.

There are many such cases and the fact that these are political outfits who help politicians a great deal during the elections is only adding to the misery of the security agencies. For these terrorist groups the biggest advantage is that money flows in with much ease. The hawala remittance into Kerala is a huge amount. Until a year back the remittance was around Rs 20000 crore. While a large amount is considered to be legal, there is also a part which has been used for subversive activities. This kind of money remittance is a dream for any outfit which is in Kerala since funds have never been the problem. Moreover to top it, they park it with political organisations which use these groups during the elections and at the end of it manage to get away scot free.

The high level meeting of the NIA in Kerala discussed all these issues on hand. An officer says that the going is tough and unless there is a change in the mindset politically this problem cannot be solved. There are scores of issues to be dealt with and they would also need the support of the local police not only from Kerala but also the neighbouring states to solve this problem. The problem is connected to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and also Karnataka and these groups are only trying to get bigger in size by involving the neighbouring states, an officer also pointed out.

Seeking a ban on outfits has only shown that these groups get more aggressive. The biggest problem is the political support on which these groups thrive and if this is sorted out then the problem can be controlled a great deal, the officer also pointed out.