In early August 2008, the kingpin of the project ran the first recruitment camp in the northern district of Kannur and within two months, five of his recruits were in combat with the Indian army in Kashmir, reportedly after receiving training in Pakistan. Reuters
Five years ago, when the people of Kerala heard for the first time that four of the “terrorists” who were killed in an encounter with the Indian army in Kashmir were from their state, their most widespread reaction was that of shock and disbelief. It was a story nobody could easily buy – five unemployed youth going all the way to Kashmir and fighting with the Indian army along with Pakistan-sponsored militants.
In early August 2008, the kingpin of the project ran the first recruitment camp in the northern district of Kannur and within two months, five of his recruits were in combat with the Indian army in Kashmir, reportedly after receiving training in Pakistan. Four got killed, while one got injured and somehow managed to get back to the state to be picked up by the police later.
In early August 2008, the kingpin of the project ran the first recruitment camp in the northern district of Kannur and within two months, five of his recruits were in combat with the Indian army in Kashmir, reportedly after receiving training in Pakistan.
On Friday, an NIA court in Kochi put the first round of closure on the story by sentencing 13 persons to imprisonment, three of them – the ringleaders – to double imprisonment. The number would have been 14, but for one, who was killed in the encounter. While refusing to award a death penalty to the man who fought the Indian army and escaped with injuries, as demanded by the prosecution,
the judge said that nobody was born a terrorist. Nothing could have been truer than this observation in a state where Muslims account for about 25 percent of the population and have been active in mainstream politics for decades like any other party. The state is truly plural and secular, with only half of the population Hindus, and the socio-cultural fabric is abundant with people, ideas, symbols and motifs from all religions.
Then suddenly, from this tiny state, the country gets hardcore Jihadis, who get recruited, trained and deployed to wage a war against their country by alleged agents of Laskar-e-Taiba.
Besides evidence that helped them get a firm conviction in the court, the investigations by NIA reportedly recovered a lot of literature and materials that link the convicts with Pakistani handlers and Lashkar. Although Kerala could have been the least fertile soil for any Jihadi terrorist activity in the world, given that people belonging to the “minority” religions are an integral part of the socio-economic, cultural and political mainstream and that there is hardly any alienation, it was intriguing that considerable number of youth from the state had been led into a path of misplaced religious anger and violence.
The project appeared to be a carbon copy of the development of Jihadi networks elsewhere in the world – say Afghanistan: create an atmosphere of radical Islam in the guise of religious teachings and public speeches, create religious alienation and whip up a sense of victimisation by the majority community and others. It didn’t matter that there was hardly any reason to be angry or alienated. America bombing Iraq or Afghanistan was no reason for a Malayali to stage a war against the Indian army or to indulge in bomb blasts against innocent Indians.
Interestingly, it was in the 1990s – or a bit earlier – the process started and several groups raised their heads in the state creating a complex web of radical thoughts and social service activities. Most of them reportedly had overseas funding. While this growth or momentum was externally driven and could have been tackled only by sensible de-radicalisation by the political parties, notably by the powerful Muslim League, and social groups, and counter-intelligence operations, what seemed to have partly abetted the process was the growing intolerance and campaign of hatred by the majority community.
Although the majoritarian politics meant nothing electorally, their presence and hate philosophy were widespread, particularly in north Kerala where the Jihadi networks easily found their targets. The artificially generated religious fanaticism found its catalysts in the rise of radicalism – although very limited, but pervasive – among some leaders and cadres of the majority community. Now they mutually aggravate, leading to irresponsible war of words and even violent clashes.
(Comment: Is this really so or it is malicious propaganda!!)
Will the closure of the “Kashmir recruitment case” put an end to the cycle of fundamentalisation of faith and violence in the state? Very unlikely. It might be a speed-breaker, but not an end to the process that began in the 1990s. Its momentum has to be stopped and the ideology rewritten. The strategy for that should not be counter hate-campaigns or naming and shaming as it is happening in the state right now. What is required is social transformation, drawing from the states historical socio-cultural ethos and its age-old sense of equality.
The majority of the state, as well as the Muslims, should be proud that Muslim League is the lifeline of the Congress led ruling coalition – the United Democratic Front. Had the state been a bad place for minorities – including the 20 per cent Christians- this would never have happened. It’s unique only to Kerala and hence the same state cannot breed radicalism.
COMMENT: The ISI obviously has got a strong foothold in Kerala. This is serious, but who cares!! Role played by Keralites going to the Gulf and Saudi Arabia and gettin gindoctrinated there has not been highlighted
BUT THE POLITICIANS ARE ONLY CONCERNED WITH VOTE BANK POLICIES!!