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Islamic State and memories of jihadi terror in Kerala

WebdeskAug 22, 2021, 10:28 AM IST

Islamic State and memories of jihadi terror in Kerala

P Sandeep Kumar


The chief minister Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan recently told the Kerala legislative assembly that the state government has no information about any Islamic State module in Kerala. His statement connected with a question raised by Muslim League leader M K Muneer and some UDF MLA’s in the assembly. However, the former chief of state police Loknath Behera on his last day in service, in an interview with media persons, revealed that the Islamic State is actively recruiting from Kerala. According to Behera, the prime target of Islamic State recruitment is educated people like doctors and engineers.


Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sources revealed that the module was trying to recruit youths from Kerala after interrogating a suspected IS module. The agency also arrested two women from Kerala in connection with this module. Further, there are incidents reported in the past of people, including women leaving Kerala to join the IS in Syria and Afghanistan. Hence, we can easily surmise that the statement of Kerala CM in the assembly was an effort to suppress the facts and appease the Islamic radicals.


The growing radicalisation is a threat to the composite social fabric of Kerala. Unfortunately, the political leadership is in denial mode. They are not willing to accept the reality due to the pressure of vote bank politics. Their denial is not a new phenomenon, but it has dangerous repercussions. Radicalisation and jihad have a long history in Kerala, especially in the Malabar region. 2021 marks the 100th year of the establishment of an Islamic State in Kerala.

On 22 August 1921, Ali Musliar, an Islamic preacher and his Islamic militia announced an Islamic state In Malabar. Ali Musliar installed himself as King, and proclamations were issued to make Islamic law the land's law. His followers promulgated the establishment of the Islamic state and Ali Musliar as its King and his edicts in various parts of Malabar. Even today, there is propaganda that Ali Musliar had founded ‘Malayala Nadu’, which is utterly false. The state that he founded was based on Quran and was an Islamic state.


What followed after the establishment of this Islamic State in Malabar war horrible incidents. The Islamic militia and fanatic mobs unleashed barbaric atrocities on the innocent Hindus. As a result, thousands of Hindus were massacred—Wells after wells and ponds filled with corpses of beheaded people who refused to embrace Islam. Further, the Islamic militia even resorted to barbaric ways and flayed people alive. Not only massacres, the modesty of thousands of women outraged, many more thousands forcible converted to Islam, but loot, arson and destruction and desecration of Hindu temples etc. was also a common feature of Malabar during those days. As a result, nearly 1.5 to 2 lakh people got displaced, and most of them ended up in refugee camps. Arya Samaj, first time established a centre in Calicut for relief activities and facilitated reconversion of around 3000 Hindus, who were forcibly converted to Islam. The number of Muslim fanatics who participated in the anti-Hindu atrocities exceeded over fifty thousand. The sheer number of fanatic mobs is a testimony of the situation that persisted in Malabar on those days.


The Islamic radicals who unleashed atrocities on Hindus in 1921 Malabar was not just a fanatic mob. Instead, it was an organised militia. This militia was organised under the guise of the Khilafat movement, as parallel. They even had a uniform, Khakhi trouser, coat, red Turkic cap with a crescent symbol and a sword was part of it. Before the beginning of the riots, they organised marches under a red flag with 'Takbir' slogans. Since June 1921, this militia was preparing for a war; they forged sword daggers and collected firearms and organised training for this purpose.


Disbanded Moplah-Muslim soldiers of the British army was the back born of this militia; many of them had the experience of World War I. These ex-soldiers used military tactics like breaking bridges, removing railway tracks, removing telegraphic wires, blockage of roads, etc., in the initial days of trouble in Malabar to hinder the movement of troops. Though they resorted to guerrilla war on a later period, initial days, this Islamic militia even used trench warfare and snipers.


The genocide of Malabar Hindus and the ferocity of Moplah-Muslims shaken the conciseness of not only Indians but people across the world. The Indian national leaders like Rabindranath Tagore, B R Ambedkar, Annie Besant and M K Gandhi reacted to the sad plight of Malabar Hindus with agony. Other leaders also responded to the incidents with the same pain. V D Savarkar wrote a novel on the 1921 events of Malabar. The genocide of Malabar Hindus become a theme in many novels and publications of those days. Unfortunately, slowly the memories of one of the gruesome genocides of Hindus fall into oblivion.


Ironically, the immediate cause of establishing an Islamic state in Malabar in 1921 and the atrocities was a rumour that the Amir of Afghanistan invaded Delhi and established an Islamic state in India. As soon as the word spread in Malabar, the Moplah-Muslims came out to support the Islamic fanatics trying to establish an Islamic state in Malabar. The recent developments in Afghanistan and the growing influence of outfits like ISIS and radicalisation in Kerala remind us that the Ideas and forces that unleashed a genocide on Hindus 100 years back are transcended the time and waiting for an opportunity to destroy peace and harmony.



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