A newspaper advertisement, social media posts, posters, banners glorifying dreaded terrorist Imam Ali, who was involved in 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts, has triggered a slew of protests from Hindu organisations in Tamil Nadu.
Imam Ali was the leader of the banned Al-Umma, a terrorist outfit and the main accused in the 1993 bomb blasts at the Chetpet RSS office that killed 13 people.
On 14th February 1998, hours before BJP senior leader and then Dy Prime Minister L K Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi were to address an election meeting for the 1998 Lok Sabha polls In Coimbatore, powerful bomb blasts rocked the Manchester of South India. About 12 bombs exploded in different parts of Coimbatore. High intensity explosives were used in which 58 were killed leaving about 250 injured. Police investigation found banned Muslim fundamentalist outfit Al-Umma, headed S A Basha was the brain behind the blasts. They allegedly planned to eliminate L K Advani in a suicide squad attack”. Imam Ali was involved in the blasts. The dreaded terrorist, who was an expert in bomb making, had threatened to demolish Hindu temples like famous Madurai Meenakshi. He was , it is learnt, was trained by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and also by Hizbul Mujahideen. In a joint operation by TN police and Bangalore city police led by the SP of STF, Ashok Kumar shot Imam Ali to death in an encounter on 29th September 2002 where he was holed up.
Indian National League Party (INLP) had inserted an advertisement last year in The Hindu English daily in Tamil. It said: “Your eyes may rest but never your dreams”. It also called him “Shaheed’ which in Arabic language means a ‘Muslim martyr’. Below the picture of Imam Ali, words glorifying were found in that eulogy in Tamil, it said,
- Stumbling blocks were no barriers as you have shown us the formula to scale pinnacle
- Redeem the rights of oppressed society and rule the nation, Irai Margam (holy path) is the only option
- To make your dream realized, you dedicated your life as a fertilizer.
- We will reach the peak soon by fighting in a democratic way
The advertisement was released by Munnan Syed Ali, southern zone, India Desiya League Katchi (INLP).
This year too, similar advertisements were released in DMK controlled Tamil daily Dinakaran to observe his death anniversary. A large number of Posters glorifying Imam Ali were seen in Tirunelveli and in all district headquarters Their blatant act has triggered protests from BJP, VHP and Hindu Munnani. They asked “If the INLP would realize his dreams of wiping out other faiths and their holy places?
VHP’s Tirunelveli District Secretary E Arumuga Kani has demanded an NIA probe into this. He said INLP had released similar advertisements in English daily in 2018 and 2019. But this year, an advertisement was inserted in only the Nellai edition of Dinakaran and local neighbourhood paper, ‘The Nellai Times’. This year they made poster campaigns all over the state besides extending welfare schemes to beneficiaries. Anna dhan was organized to feed the poor. We have made complaints to the District collector and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu seeking to put an end to this glorifying a terrorist who was responsible for killing innocent people. In his petition he questioned, was a death anniversary necessary for a Islamic fundamentalist? Is the government allowing this to be celebrated?", he asked.
VHP has demanded NIA probe into the advertisements eulogizing a convicted terrorist
“Today is the death anniversary of the blood thirsty Imam Ali who has killed many in bomb blasts only to drunk their blood to satiate his craving. Irony is, blood donation camps were organized for this blood sucker. What was the reason for the celebration? Are they trying to revive extremism? On this day i.e. September 29, the killers of innocent were shot dead in an encounter at Bangalore. Was it a youth awakening day as claimed by them? Death anniversary for a terrorist who flouted Islamic extremists groups? This gives a suspicion that Tamil Nadu is an emerging haven for terrorists. Imam Ali, who gave sleepless nights to TN police, is now being glorified as a martyr and posters and banners were placed all over the state and also through social media. Those who are behind this campaign should be booked under the National Security Act. Did the Nellai Dinakaran Tamil daily support terrorism? Realizing the seriousness of the issue, authorities should take immediate steps to stop the campaign once for all. Will the Tamil Nadu police take action against them? It will and should take action . Otherwise, we demand a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)”.
Arumuga Kani and others ask “Will the same newspapers publish obituary advertisements on Osama bin Laden too?”.
NIA branch in Chennai
A full- fledged NIA office in Chennai would be operational soon with a staff strength of 80 personnel. It will be headed by an officer in the rank of SP. NIA is handling as many as ten cases from Tamil Nadu, Puducherry which are being supervised by officers from Kochi and Delhi. Currently they are probing ISI and IS cases only in Tamil Nadu. Kumbakonam Ramalingam case is an exception who was murdered for opposing conversion. Once the NIA branch office is functional, all FIRs of TN cases will be registered here.
“This decision of the Government of India will help in ensuring quick response to any emergency situation in the concerned states by the premier anti-terror investigation agency of the country. It will strengthen NIA’s capacity in investigation of terrorism-related cases and other national security related matters. It will also help facilitate timely collection of crucial information and evidence related to such offences” says a Home Ministry release.