With Turkey trying to become the leader of Muslim world, the meeting between leaders of Islamist outfits Popular Front and Turkish IHH points to emerging global jihadi linkages
PFI members met with Al-Qaeda linked Turkish group IHH
Recently, a European research group has reported that the Popular Front of India (PFI) and Turkish Jihadi outfit IHH had held a meeting in 2018.IHH, linked to the Turkish State intelligence, is accused of smuggling arms and ammunition to terror outfit Al Qaeda in Syria in 2014. The intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch on the activities of PFI which has taken up on itself the task of Islamising India.
Kerala has been a haven for Islamic fundamentalists for the last several decades. The southern state has been found to have the highest number of pro-IS cases in all of India, with about 40 of the 180 to 200 cases. Several youths tried to travel to West Asia to join the caliphate, or in fact did so. According to a study by KabirTaneja and Mohammed Sinan Siyech, “Kerala’s Kannur district had the highest number of people identified for pro-IS inclinations, at 118 (not necessarily arrested, charged or prosecuted), followed by Malappuram (89) and Kasaragod (66). In total, 350 individuals (all male) were identified and approached by police with help of local community members including religious leaders, families, friends and parents to deter them from following the IS path. This number was higher than what other states reported across India.”
Interestingly, no major bomb blasts or any serious terrorist actions have so far reported from the state. However, it does not mean that things are calm and cool. It could be a strategy of the radicals to keep the tiny state free from gunshots and maintain it as a permanent resort, so that it will not invite the wrath of the Centre or intelligence establishment.
Religions must be subject to scrutiny — Dr.Mohiyuddin Nadukkandiyil Karassery
Radicalisation, whether Muslim, Christian or Hindu, is danger to the democracy. Democracy cannot survive in a radicalised society. Secularism put forward by Gandhiji, Nehru and Kalam is what is needed. The tragedy of Pakistan is that it is a theocratic state. Similarly, democracy does not in Iran, as there is a supreme religious council with the power to veto the laws and policies passed by their parliament. The country’s name is Islamic Republic of Iran. Republic denotes power of people.
People should have the freedom to criticise beliefs and practices of all religions. Our organisation, Mathethara Samajam (Secular Society) was the first to protest against chopping of Prof. Joseph’s hand. MF Husain’s paintings are derogatory to Hindu Gods and I have written and spoken against it. However, I do not approve of the actions of some people who made him flee the country.
Hindu Rashtra is a theocratic concept hence it cannot rub the shoulders with democracy. Religion and religious practices should be subject to changes according to changing times and places. No practice should be everlasting simply because it is preached by Prophet, Christ or any Hindu God. He cited the example of child marriage.
(As told to T Satisan)
However, Islamic radicals have found to be actively participating in terror activities elsewhere. Kerala figured prominently in the investigation into the Sri Lankan blasts. According to Sri Lanka’s investigation agencies, a native of Palakkad, Kerala, 29-year-old RiyasAboobacker reportedly identified ZahranHashim’s online propaganda videos as one of the reasons behind his radicalisation. The case of Riyas was attached to those of 14 people from the state’s Kasargod region who left India to join IS, all of whom ended up in Afghanistan, except for one. The alleged leader of this group, Rashid Abdulla, was also a native of Kasaragod in Kerala, states the above-mentioned study.
But, Kerala has been a fertile land for all sorts of Islamic fundamentalism and radicalisation. Largest number of IS recruits are from Kerala. All Islamic fundamentalist-sponsored and operated actions abroad do have a Kerala root somewhere, be it Paris blast or Easter blast in Sri Lanka.
Another interesting scenario is the influence the fundamentalists wield among various mainstream political parties in Kerala including Congress and CPM. None can forget the over enthusiasm both Congress-led UDF and CPM-led LDF showed and joined hands in Kerala Assembly in passing a unanimous resolution demanding the release of Coimbatore blast (1998) accused and PDP leader Abdul Nasser Al Madani. Last year both Fronts joined together and passed a resolution against CAA. These two incidents are more than enough to establish that Kerala is the safe haven for the terrorists and fundamentalists.
A few decades ago, Christians were numerically and politically stronger than Muslims. Slowly, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) became powerful and the much sought after group in the state for both CPM and Congress. They shared power with both political fronts. The League maintained a moderate political and communal line. It did not resign from the Congress-led UDF government when the demolition occurred in Ayodhya during the regime of Narasimha Rao.
CPM helped Jamaat gain political legitimacy — Prof. Hameed Chendamangalloor
Jamaat-e-Islami’s Kashmir unit has been working as a separate organisation since long. Members of that unit have been more fanatic, militant and radical compared to that of other units in the country. In 1960s and 70s, they made high-voltage propaganda that Kashmir was not a part of the country. They promoted fissiparous tendencies in militant style and raised slogans like “Indian dogs quit Kashmir”. The group was milder in other states. But, now, they consider RSS, BJP and Sangh-oriented movements are theirmain enemies. They say ‘Sangh Parivar’ is the Enemy No: 1. The launch of Welfare Party, its political wing, in 2011 gave a powerful impetus to them to put forward their anti-RSS tirade. Those days, they joined hands with CPM-led LDF in Panchayat-Municipality elections. In 2010, a woman candidate of Jamat-e-Islami won municipal election in Mukkam Municipality, Kozhikode. As a result, CPM ruled the municipality for five years with JeIsupport. Next time, in 2015, they won three seats, two with their own might and one with the support of CPM. At that time, LDF was short of 2 seats to get the majority. So, these three seats gave them comfortable majority.
But, later on CPM realised that further link with the extremist outfit would alienate Hindus hence they severed the ties. Therefore, in the Malabar region, Welfare Party is a part of Congress-led UDF. This new honeymoon is facilitated by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the major partner in the Front. The stakeholders believe that this marriage of convenience would bring them good fortunes in the imminent local body elections.
It was me who first wrote an article in Mathrubhumi weekly criticising Jamaat, from a secular point of view, some 40 years ago. Later, I wrote a Malayalam book,‘Daivathinte Rashtreeyam’ (Politics of God), on the same theme.
Jamat-e-Islami shot into prominence in 1970s, thanks to the Gulf money flowed into Kerala. They spent the money for helping the needy cutting across party, caste or religious lines. It helped them to grow. The same money power helped them to launch Madhyamam Malayalam daily. They tried to wear a secular mask to popularise it. They tried to draft Hindu intellectuals and writers as editors. They tried Krishna Warrier, Sukumar Azheekode, etc., but in vain. Then they got writer PK Balakrishnan. In Muslim areas, they kept on propagating that Madhyamam is filling the vacuum of a Muslim daily. They said, Chandrika belonged to IUML party, not to all Muslims. C. Radhakrishnan edited its weekly for some time. But, KamalramSajeev, the controversial former editor of Mathhrubhumi weekly later gave a facelift to the magazine. It succeeded in attracting all sorts of readers as it contained Dalit issues, environment matters, women’s liberation and anti-RSS contents.
CPM’s appeasement politics helped them a lot to develop separatism among the people. In a bid to appease Muslim community, CPM played up sentiments against anti-US imperialism, Saddam Hussein’s execution, Iraqi war, Afghan war, etc. This helped Jamat ideologically. But, they did not say anything about the Communist regime’s torture against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Hapless Uyghurs are lodged in inhuman camps. CPM rationalised that the camps are for reforming them. And, they kept on shouting, during the anti-CAA agitation that Indian Muslims would be put in prison camps.
Now, Jamaat goes ahead with its Islamic radicalisation drive using their media houses. Their Prabhodhanam weekly and Madhyamam daily propagate the need for establishing Islamic rule, the duty of each and every Muslim.
However, their propaganda is not as powerful as it used to be 25 years ago. Now the BJP rule is a reality. They are afraid of stringent action from the Modi regime. The members of my community have ostracised me for my strong stand against the fundamentalism. I get threat letters from radical elements.
(As told to T. Satisan)
Jamat-e-Islami, Madani's ISS (later on PDP), Indian Union League led by Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait, National Development Front (NDF), Popular Front of India (PFI), Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), etc.are various Islamic outfits promoting radicalisation. NDF was formed by the old Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) people when the organisation was banned.
Wagamon (Idukki) training camp, Panayikkulam (Ernakulam) SIMI camp, Kanakamala (Kannur) camp, Kozhikode bus stand blast, Kondotty (Malappuram) bridge pipe bomb, bullets found in Aryankavu (Kollam), blasts in Collectorates in Kolllam, Ernakulam and Malappuram, Kollam riots based on a fabricated news that a mosque was demolished in Faizabad, Poonthura (Thiruvananthapuram) riot, etc. are some tips of the ice berg in the state.Plots to kill former CM and veteran CPM leader late E.K. Nayanar, former RSS Kerala Pranth Sanghchalak late Adv. T.V. Ananthan, chopping of Prof. Joseph's hand, killing of SFI activist Abhimanyu, etc. are to be viewed from this angle.
ABVP leaders Vishal and Sachin Gopal were killed by the fundamentalists.
Journalism as Cover
The Uttar Pradesh government has told the Supreme Court recently that shocking findings have emerged in the investigation so far in the case in which Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested on his way to Hathras, where a young Dalit woman had died after allegedly being gang-raped.Kappanhad claimed that he is working as a journalist in a Kerala-based daily but that newspaper was closed two years ago, the UP Police had told a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde.
Investigation conducted so far has found some shocking findings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench, which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.The apex court, which was hearing a plea filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) questioning Kappan’s arrest, asked the petitioner as to whether they would like to move the high court.
Kappan was associated with the Popular Front mouthpiece Thejas, which carried a cover story on Osama bin Ladan projecting him a martyr. The UP Police said Kappan was on his way to Hathras to create communal disturbance. He was arrested along with three other Popular Front activists.
Now, an interesting incident takes place in Kerala. Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials are raiding offices of PFI and houses of PFI leaders as part of their inquiry into the Delhi riots occurred in connection with the anti-CAA agitations last year. In Thiruvananthapuram, PFI and SDPI activists raise "Bolo Taqdeer" when ED raised the house of their senor leader.
No doubt, appeasement politics of both CPM and Congress give inspiration and strength to the Islamic fundamentalists in Kerala.