Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan convened a meeting of top officials of his department here on Saturday in the context of the recent incident at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district, in which a college teacher's hand was chopped off by fundamentalist elements.

“We cannot see it as an ordinary crime. The investigation into the incident points to a clear intention to cause communal divide…Certain elements are trying out whether religious extremism can capture the imagination of the people,” Mr. Balakrishnan told journalists after the meeting.

He said the investigation was proceeding satisfactorily. Pamphlets and other materials recovered from the places of the men arrested in connection with the incident made clear their misguided intentions, he said.

The newly formed Internal Security Investigation Wing of the police would go to the bottom of the whole plot, tracing the network the fundamentalist groups were building up and nipping their activities in the bud. The meeting decided to provide to the wing all the required facilities. The Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) would head the wing, with the Director General Police holding overall command.

The Home Minister said the recent incident at Nilambur in Malappuram district was also being taken very seriously by the government. The brake tubes of several bogeys of a train were found cut at the Nilambur railway station in what could be a sabotage attempt. Such incidents had never occurred in Kerala before. The State government was of the considered opinion that this case, now being investigated by the Crime Branch of Police, should be handled by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Mr. Balakrishnan said.

He said all previous cases of various nature involving fundamentalist elements would be re-examined by the new wing in the light of their large scale plot, which was now quite evident. These groups had obtained mobile phone SIM cards on fake names. Mobile phone operators carelessly obliging these people would face action, he said.

The meeting charted out a long list of measures to be implemented in the Police Department to strengthen intelligence gathering, foresee trouble and maintain law and order. The department would open six new police stations (at Mannanthala, Chottanikkara, Mankada, Panamaram, Mayyil and Mannancherri) and two new ‘police districts' (by dividing the territories under the District Police Superintendents of Thrissur and Kollam).

Keywords: assaultarrestT.J. JosephSIT