• 28 July, 2021
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Is Kerala Becoming Another Kashmir: Not Tourism, its Terrorism!

Colonel S Dinny (Retd)
Fri, 02 Jul 2021   |  Reading Time: 6 minutes

On 30 June 2021, Shri Loknath Behera, IPS retired after his tenure as one of the longest serving Kerala State Police Chief. On the eve of his relinquishment, he candidly admitted to the fact that Kerala is fast turning into an ideal breeding ground for terrorist activities. The Police Chief expressed his concerns of rising fundamentalism amongst well educated and professionally qualified youths in Kerala. He also alluded to the fact that there were many sleeper cells operating in the state. The fact that Kerala is fast turning into another ‘paradise’ for ‘foreign funded-local operated’ terrorist activities, is probably the most open secret in God’s Own Country.

No area is infested with terrorism overnight. It takes many years and maybe even decades to create the ideal environment for terrorists to operate successfully. The most notable terrorism infected state in India, Jammu and Kashmir, also saw years of preparation before the ugly face of terrorism finally erupted in 1989. This was preceded by a systematically planned campaign that included increased radicalisation, propagating the victim card, marginalisation of other communities, targeted attacks on individuals who opposed such moves, infiltration into the state police forces and most importantly create a narrative of ‘saving the religion’.

There are people who think that terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was mainly due to cross border support from Pakistan, and Kerala in that sense is insulated.  Today in a truly interconnected world, the support received for terrorism in Kerala, is from across the globe and not just from Pakistan.  Although, Kerala has still not reached the level of terrorist activities in Kashmir in 1989, the pattern cannot be missed by anyone.

More importantly, unlike Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala has the presence of both Left-Wing Extremists and religious fundamentalists turned terrorists. The state has reported close to 100 cases of terrorism till date. The state has also witnessed many small-scale explosions, including the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). There have been 142 arrests for terrorism related activities alone. An analysis of a few past cases would put the issue in perspective.

In 2007, training for sharp shooting, making of petrol bombs and bike racing was carried out in Vagamon (near Kottayam-Idukki border). This involved 18 members of the banned SIMI outfit.

In 2008, Altaf Ahmed, Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist from Kashmir, was arrested from Kumili, Idukki in Kerala. He had also applied for passport in Kerala. Another suspected terrorist was arrested for recruitment of Kerala youths into Jammu and Kashmir terror groups.  In the same year, two religiously converted youths from the state, were killed in the Line of Control (LoC), while carrying out infiltration. Kerala youths were also arrested in connection with the Bangalore serial bombing.

Professor TJ Joseph from Newman College, Thodupuzha was attacked on 04 July 2010, and his hands chopped off, by members of Popular Front of India (PFI), for alleged “blasphemy”, while preparing a question paper in the Malayalam semester examination for second year B Com students.

In 2011, there were reports of a coordination meeting between SIMI activists and the Maoists. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in 2012, discovered a huge racket for printing Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) in Kerala. During the NIA South Zone Coordination Committee Conference in Thiruvananthapuram held on 11 Aug 2012, it was reported that, “Kerala is the fountain head of Islamist terror operations in the country”.

In 2013, when Yasin Bhatkal, the notorious Indian Mujahidin (IM) terrorist was arrested, he admitted to links with Kerala based IM operatives in North Kerala. The large-scale dumping of explosives in the state was once again highlighted, when 200 Kilograms of explosives were recovered in Vellarada village near Thiruvananthapuram, in 2014.

In 2015, four youths were deported from UAE for being supporters of ISIS. It was also confirmed that 22 people including six women and three infants had exited India in batches to join ISIS. Yasmin Zaid, a radicalised school teacher was arrested in Delhi while moving to Kabul. Also, the agencies reported that the flow of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) in 2015, had increased a whopping 360 per cent compared to 2014.

Another group of 21 people including a doctor, his wife and their infant son went missing in Kasaragod and Palghat districts in 2016. This group also included other medical and engineering professionals. This year also saw low level explosions in Kollam Civil Secretariat and in Malappuram. In October 2016, the NIA neutralised an IS inspired module at Kanakamala hilltop in Kannur district. The group was planning to carry out attacks including ‘lone wolf’ attacks.

In 2017, a street in Thuruthi ward of Kasaragod municipality was named ‘Gaza’. This was close to the Padane village from where many youths had gone missing in 2016, and were later found to have joined the ISIS in Syria. This year also saw reports of at least 10 Malayali youths getting killed in Syria.

A group of five ISIS sympathisers were arrested in 2018, while trying to flee to Syria. On 16 April 2018, Kerala witnessed a rather bizarre bandh in select districts of the state, mainly in the north. An undeclared flash strike referred to as “WhatsApp Hartal” was called over social media groups, seeking justice for the eight-year-old gang rape and murder victim in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. The communal hartal resulted in massive violence in almost all northern districts of Kerala. The mobs supporting the bandhs vandalised public and private property instilling fear in many ordinary citizens. The aim of the “WhatsApp Hartal” clearly was to orchestrate communal riots in the state.

In March 2019, a suspected Maoist leader, CP Jaleel was killed by the Kerala Police. In October 2019, three more suspected Maoists were neutralised by the state police in Agali forests in Palakkad. On 01 November 2019, Allen Shuhaib and Thwaha Fasal were arrested from Kalpetta in Wayanad district for alleged Maoist links. Also, incidents of distribution of posters and pamphlets by the Maoists in the hinterland were also reported.

On 03 November 2020, a suspected Maoist was killed by the Kerala Police during a search operation near Bappana Mala tribal hamlet in the Wayanad district. On 13 November 2020, the police recovered five steel bombs which were found abandoned near a mosque at Kakkuni, near Kuttiyadi.

Apart from these terrorist related activities, Kerala is today also faced with many other peculiar challenges. It has become an ideal example of a state, where ‘multicriminality’ is in play.  Organised crime, terrorism and drug trafficking, the many facets of multicriminality, engage in a seamless and interconnected manner in the state. The outer cover to this labyrinth of multicriminality is political patronage.

In the last few months, Kerala has seen a quantum jump in the number of gold smuggling and drug trafficking cases coming to the fore. On 05 July 2020, in a single case, 30 kilograms of gold worth Rupees 14.82 Crores were seized by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a supposedly diplomatic bag meant to be delivered to the UAE Consulate. The extent of the vice like grip of this multicriminality network operating in the state was evident, when even the Principal Secretary of the Chief Minister was found involved in the case.

In Kerala now, there is not a single day when criminals involved in gold smuggling are not caught by the agencies. During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, customs had seized about 251 kilograms of gold from the various airports in Kerala. In 2019-2020, it had a two-fold increase to 540 kilograms.  The actual cases of gold smuggling and drug trafficking would be much higher, as only a fraction of such cases get caught by the agencies. The nexus between smugglers, violent mafia, political leaders and extremist organisations, have emerged as a potent threat for the peace and overall development of the society in Kerala.

Therefore, it is quite clear that Kerala is treading a very dangerous path towards full scale terrorism. It is a fact that Kerala Police along with other national security agencies are actively involved in the counter-terrorism operations in the state. They also have put in motion a counter-radicalisation programme. But what is of utmost need is greater awareness and participation of the people of Kerala. The ostrich approach towards this looming crisis will not work anymore.

In the late 80s, the people of Kerala achieved the rare distinction of being the first 100 per cent literate state, by learning to read from what was written on the black boards. Once again, the people of Kerala have to learn, this time from the writing on the wall!

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Author

Colonel S Dinny (Retd) has had five operational tenures in counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East. He has done his research for MPhil on counter-terrorism operations from Madras University. He was a faculty at Defence Services Staff College. Presently, he is the Editor, Chanakya forum. His Twitter handle is @sdinny14.

 


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POST COMMENTS (35)

M K RAICHAND

Jul 21, 2021
Nice articles are written to explain the rise of the terrorist outfit in the state of kerala

mohan

Jul 18, 2021
The brainwashing of the educated Hindu community is so thorough , that they will realise only when death is at their door step. They have either to face it or runaway both of which suits the jihadi factories. Modi has brought rats holed up while it’s for the people to understand and act . Now don’t call me a Modi bhakt.

Syd

Jul 15, 2021
I suppose mass incarceration of minorities and social activists in central India is fine as long as the terror is from the political majority in power.I do agree that there is a problem.However,The trigger is the masculinity of hindu political discourse and targeting and demonisation of religious groups which you very conveniently fail to mention.Your bias is very obvious.

sarin t v

Jul 13, 2021
it's true ! Kerala new hub extremism . with of help Communist and Congress party .

santosh

Jul 11, 2021
wooo it's gift of congress and communist

Rahul Gusain

Jul 09, 2021
correct

Laxmikant Mallya

Jul 08, 2021
God's own country is somehow pricing the fact that being uneducated and illiterate has nothing to do with fanaticism and terrorism.its the"Vivek", wisdom and discretion. when will God's own people will become wiser?

George Abraham

Jul 06, 2021
The author has listed 11 terror-linked incidents since 2007. That is 11 incidents in 15 years. Can he please compile a similar list for any major State of the country for the same period, before making sweeping statement like "Kerala is treading a very dangerous path towards full scale terrorism" and "people of Kerala have to learn"? The author had the opportunity and claims of vast experience, to suggest practical, implementable, innovative solutions. However, he chose to make just a few sweeping statements! In the absence of any clear proposals other than asking the people of Kerala to learn from writing on the wall, the author's calls have directly translated to "Modi should act. Act fast before it is too late. Impose central rule in Kerala.", "Tell the judiciary to shut up", "we should remove the Secular word from Constitution", "Democracy secularism and freedom of speech destroy our country", etc. Is it what the author want? If so, isn't this article politically motivated (possibly in the backdrop of the last election results), and not aimed at promoting security? Will the author would show courage to write so irresponsibly about any other State? Possibly not, because response would have been different. PS : I do not justify the incidents or deny the facts placed in the article. Nor do I have a political bias. My objection is against the way the article is irresponsibly designed to create sensationalism and bad image of an entire State.
chanakyaforum – Jul 06, 2021:
Your views are anything but "non-political". Notwithstanding that, the aim of this article ("suggest practical, implementable, innovative solutions" as per you) is precisely to make people like you realise the enormity of the situation, in the backdrop of what the state DGP said on 30 June 2021. Surely he knows a thing about what is happening in the state. So look at it through pure security analysis, rather than any political/religious angle. Because the ugly face of terrorism directly affects everyone irrespective of their religion, politics, caste, gender and all other divisions within our society. Thanks. P.S - I am the author of this article and also the Editor of this forum. The fact that I have published your contrarian and scathing criticism of my own article, shows that the aim is to have a debate on this issue in a decent and civilsed manner. Due to paucity of time I cannot respond to each one of the comments.

C.Patel

Jul 06, 2021
It is the People to Kerala to remain alert and active against terrorism activities.

Sudarshan ezhava

Jul 05, 2021
Not only kerala,but bhatkala in karnataka going in the same way. We call some places here as "mini pakistan". You can find many pakistanis roaming around here.

Dr. Shreekumar Menon

Jul 04, 2021
Excellent analysis of the present situation in Kerala. Many States in India have become Sleeper Cells, politicians and bureaucrats sleeping instead of doing committed work, and only on the day of retirement enlightenment dawns that anti-nationals are fast gaining ground. Hope we are not preparing for another round of slavery.

sisupal

Jul 04, 2021
NGO confederation must act on agrressive sensitisation awareness programmes among neighbourhood families about the need to ensure peace and security of citizens in Kerala , Gods own country not Devils own country. It is the prime duty of Statesmen, political parties and all walks of citizens to hand over the baton of prosperity,peace and security to the younger generations.

Jo Nairj

Jul 04, 2021
@sivasubramani (jul 4) Is it possible that a secret service agent not only identified himself as such to a total stranger and then proceeded to tell them the purpose of his visit?!!! Is this perhaps the reason that terrorism is flourishing

Sivasubramani Hariharan

Jul 04, 2021
In 1986 when I was traveling between Tirur to Palghat in the first class compartment. I had the company of a CIB(central intelligence bureau)Agent ,I asked him what he was doing in a place which is away from the airport. He told me that places like Areacode in malappuram district have regular suspicious visitors from Pakistan and that he came to track them.This incident is three and a hall decades ago,justifying the claim about decades of planning to radicalize Malabar Muslims.

Madhu Shetty

Jul 04, 2021
It is the idiotic, educated, and so called secular Maliyali who is responsible for this. He is ultra modern in his outlook, he wants to think differently, just for the sake of it, he wants to question every time tested beliefs, he will destroy every institution in his motherstate and strive for the same kind of institution elsewhere, this is why he is successful anywhere else other than his mother state, and this makes him GRATEFUL to the state he strives hard to bring it up. This makes him THANKFUL to Islamic state where he prospered due to his very hardwork, as soon as he enters his mother state Kerala , he becomes a naysayer for every established facts. Very unfortunate, but true that he will bring misfortune to his mother state because of his obstinate double standard.

Col P Madhavan

Jul 04, 2021
Appreciate Col Dinny's forthright article supported with factual & chronological instances to prove the ugliest religious fundamentalism spear heading across the tiny State of Kerala. I belong to Kannur & can justify the contents with 100% accuracy how political patronage being extended lavishly to such fundamental activities for their cheap minority vote bank politics of appeasement. Contemporary reports being published in leading visual , print & social media establish a naked fact. High time patriotic India to act for a mass wake up to prevent Kerala being turned to a Southern Kashmir. Jai Hind

Col Abraham Cherian Retd

Jul 04, 2021
Further to my earlier comment, here is a link to a media house report on top 10 states with ISIS supporters. Kerala comes in at 3rd position, after TN and Uttar Pradesh. When can we expect a similar article on these states having already become terrorist states? As I said before, poor research, possibly biased and without any researc on this article on Kerala. https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/top-10-indian-states-with-isis-sympathiser-tamil-nadu-kerala-uttar-pradesh-telangana-559388

Col Abraham Cherian Retd

Jul 04, 2021
Further to my earlier comment, here is a link to a media house report on top 10 states with ISIS supporters. Kerala comes in at 3rd position, after TN and Uttar Pradesh. When can we expect a similar article on these states having already become terrorist states? As I said before, poor research, possibly biased and without any researc on this article on Kerala.

Tara

Jul 03, 2021
It prove that how coward you wereas a police officer....

PATTABHI SITARAMAN

Jul 03, 2021
While it is laudable that at least before his retirement the former police chief got his tongue back, it leaves a lot to be desired as to what he did about what he spoke about during his long tenure. It has become a passe for retired government officials to talk about inconvenient truth only on the eve of retirement or thereafter.

Vivek Tigga

Jul 03, 2021
West Bengal too

Unni Nair

Jul 02, 2021
Modi should act. Act fast before it is too late. Impose central rule in Kerala. Tell the judiciary to shut up. You have to be touch dealing with Islamists and their commie supporters. If not the whole state at least three dist to begin with. Malappuram, Kannur and Kozhikode.

Sreeprakash RM

Jul 02, 2021
നല്ലൊരു article. കേട്ടതും അറിയാത്തതുമായ കാര്യങ്ങൾ ഏകീകരിച്ചുള്ള ഇത് വായിച്ചപ്പോൾ ഒരു ചെറിയ പേടി മനസ്സിൽ, നമ്മുടെ കേരളത്തിൽ കാശ്മീർ പോലെ ഉള്ള ഒരു സ്ഥിതി വരുമോ എന്ന്...

Sunil Sadasivan

Jul 02, 2021
The article is stating the facts none can deny. Its a matter of severe concern not only for Hindus, but its of great concern for wellbeing of every Indian including Christians & Muslims. Its no notion that terrorist ruled countries are unsafe for mankind including peace loving Muslims. The need of the hour is awareness and swift action. Govt alone cannot achieve anything without the ground support of Public in keeping a watch on changes around, gathering information & conveying it to concerned authorities. Its though late but not too late to revert & restore peace. If not acted upon now, then another exodus like Kashmir is not far. Its time to wake & shed the thinking that its not effecting me, why should I act? Reacting to undesired is not that effective as to act when required. Jointly we can. Vande mataram 🙏🙏

pastya

Jul 02, 2021
Please connect the dots. Srilanka becoming a Chinese Protégé and Pak PM visit to Srilanka recently. May be, they are trying to destabalise kerala using Srilanka

Col Abraham Cherian Retd

Jul 02, 2021
I think if any state is looked at in isolation, each would look like a terrorist state with the number of such incidents happening everywhere. Is the author implying that incidents similar to those quoted in the article did not happen in any other state, other than J&K?? A comparison of such incidents across states would help in drawing a correct picture. Otherwise, this appears to be a biased article with insufficient research via newspaper reports, as the mainstay seems to be anecdotal references, I think around ten over 10 years have been mentioned.

BHAVIL GOYAL

Jul 02, 2021
It is not a hidden fact that ISIS has been recruiting youths from kerela. The people recruited are then brainwashed and then join sleeper cells of the terrorist organisations, that youth is educated it is not like some uneducated people in the search of money been fooled. In the future Kerela is gonna serve as the major hub for recruitment of young people in the UN designated terrorist organisations and some countries even host them like china and Pakistan. Also state politics in West bengal is goona create a ground for Rohingyas to join ISIS major reason is massive refugees in bad living conditions and no hope in life. Aasam, WB and kerela should be watched closely for the coming years as Kashmir issue is well to be settled in max of 2 years. India is always losing out thier internal war with terrorism from the very independence be it kashmir punjab and now new breeding grounds in these three states. Kerela has a no hope govt. which is losing highly educated people ilke this. Security alerts should be declared at the earliest youth has to be conveyed, deradicalization is the need of hour.

Niraj

Jul 02, 2021
In indià left wing, TMC and other political violence not considered as terriorism despite same kind of henious crime committed, affecting large community, arms and ammunition used, terror tactics used and many more under political and religious organisations tag. all such activities not y investigated or not taken widespread action resulting rising terriorism across India. Religious fundamentalist infiltrated into religious groups, social and political organisation including himan right, activists, media persons, film industry etc. They get funds fro parallel economy, narcotics, arms smuging, petroleum products smuggling, gold smuggling, money laundering, sex trade, himan trafficking, organ trade, and many such activities etc. both support getting from Pakistan, middle East, Turkey, China and other countries. Time to stop through quick massive action now or never.

radha choube

Jul 02, 2021
we should remove the Secular word from Constitution. we are nationalist , follower of Shri Krishna, one who spared not even his blood relative in path of Justice. Arya Chanakya, Shivaji Maharaj should be our guiding pillars in domestic in house management and external strategic affairs.

Vijay Thakur

Jul 02, 2021
Democracy secularism and freedom of speech destroy our country. I am sorry to say but it's bitter truth.

ankit

Jul 02, 2021
but sir why the central government is not taking strict actions against these terror and gold smuggling activities

Joy Pal

Jul 02, 2021
It's not only Kerala they already grabbed few state. The next state will become soon exploited. We Indians getting late for safe in the name of Secularism..

vishnu

Jul 02, 2021
no doubt. recent events in Malabar

Ethukrishnan M Das

Jul 02, 2021
Sir you spoke out the truth and explained in well manner thankyou sir for the insight

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