Monday, May 9, 2011

Terrorism vote-bank politics of Kerala and Tamil Nadu

The extent of jihadi entrenchment in Kerala was demonstrated in 2003 in Marad, a sleepy coastal fishing village, where eight Hindu fishermen were hacked to death by a Muslim mob on the beach. The killers then hid inside the nearby Jumma Masjid, where hundreds of local Muslim women converged to prevent the police from entering to catch the attackers. This became known as the Marad Massacre or Second Moplah Massacre. Justice Thomas P. Joseph's commission was set up to investigate the massacre, and it come out with shocking details about the robust infrastructure that the jihadis had built in Kerala. The assistant commissioner of police testified before the commission, stating that National Development  Front (NDF) had been receiving very large funds from unspecified foreign countries to carry out its terror training. The commission reported that the Crime Branch had failed to inquire into the source of funds for such a large quantity of weapons and well coordinated attacks.

Another disturbing dimension that the commission brought out was the nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and jihadis. The assistant commissioner was severely criticized for the way he tred to shield one of the prime accused, and for his failure to maintain surveillance on a suspected militant despite intelligence warnings. This police officer tried to remain involved in the massacre area even after he had been transferred in the 'public interest'. The commission pointed out that his appointment was 'shrouded in suspicious circumstances' and that allegations of his links with the terrorists could not be ignored. The commission reported that this official had been appointed without knowledge of the police head and this was done 'to oblige a Muslim leader'.

Such political patronage has made the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) very strong in Kerala. SIMI operates behind a dozen front organizations, of which at least two are based in the state capital and others are located in strategic places, like the main seaport. The Kerala government officially declared in 2006 that SIMI's cadres had developed links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba of Pakistan. Police reports indicate that SIMI is operating under the cover of religious study, rural development and research. Some of these organizations are spreading 'extremist religious ideals' among the youth of Kerala, under the guise of 'counselling and guidance centers working for behavioural change'. SIMI is also reported to have established a women's wing. It receives generous funds from Kuwait and Pakistan.

The escalating level of terrorism in Kerala led a retired official, who had served in Jammu and Kashmir, to say that a similar situation had prevailed in Kashmir before terrorism reached unmanageable proportions.

Tamil Nadu-Kerala jihad Nexus

In Tamil Nadu each of the dominant radical groups that have been spun out of SIMI and their social fronts, has become intimately aligned with one of the two Dravidian parties. Thus, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been compromised and have become accommodating to jihad. The Tamil Nadu government charged a Muslim senior civil officer with unlawfully attempting to help Madani, and this official was suspended. But the next government in power revoked the suspension and promoted him as the chief secretary to the chief minister.

An investigation by The Indian Express revealed that as soon as the DMK government came to power, it ordered the cases to be dropped against twelve Muslims involved in violence and having Al Ummah contacts. The report said that senior policemen were shocked by the government's 'blatant sympathy' for the radicals.

In 2004, the Tamil Nadu police took action against a new Islamic group which was receiving foreign funds. Founded by the former SIMI president of Tamil Nadu, this group converts disenfranchised Hindus to radical Islam and then deploys them as militants. In 2006, the police arrested youths belonging to this organization with maps and ingredients for bombs. The police officer making the arrest was transferred as a punishment, and the police was harassed by the state officials for making these arrests. Police trying to arrest Al Ummah cadres have been attacked and not allowed to enter the Muslim area, turning certain areas into 'Muslim-only zones' that are outside government authority.

(Excerpt taken from pages 403-405; for all original references kindly refer the 'Breaking India' book)

External Links

The judicial commission probing Kerala’s worst communal massacre in Marad in 2003 has severely indicted almost every arm of the Congress-led United Democratic Front Government: politicians, police officers and top bureaucrats. Click to read article