Concern over outfits using them as a cover to train cadres

The police are concerned that two major cadre-based religious fundamentalist organisations are possibly using the cover of a few martial art training centres in the district to ready their cadres to potentially combat their ideological and political rivals.

They have directed law enforcement officers to monitor facilities offering training in “physical activity involving methods of attack or self-defence.”

The police will conduct a special drive to enforce the provisions of the Kerala Police (Regulation of Physical Training) Rules 2000.

Investigators said these ideologically opposed outfits regularly organised military-style drills and parades for their cadres in two neighbouring coastal localities in the city on certain weekends.

The mustering of large groups of youngsters, including outsiders, was often a cause of tension in these communally sensitive localities. One of the groups used a public ground for training their cadres in military-style parades.

The law empowers the police to prevent mass drills in public places if they feel that such groupings potentially threaten public peace.

Sources said a certain radical outfit organised basic physical and ideological training camps secretively for their cadres in at least 12 localities in the rural district.

They suspect that the radical groups earmarked a select few of their cadres for advanced training in certain karate schools, ‘kalaris' and gymnasiums run by their sympathisers.

They said only a few martial art training centres had registered themselves with the police. And only a few of them kept a “current” muster roll of their students.

The police said persons of dubious character and those accused in criminal cases owned certain martial art training facilities. They said a certain karate school in the city had been the haunt of a set of gang leaders accused in several murder cases in the district, including a few politically motivated crimes.

The police will insist that the owners of physical training centres maintain an up-to-date muster roll of their members, including their photographs and addresses. They should present the record for police inspection when required.

The rule will not apply to government-recognised educational institutions offering martial art training to their students. However, such institutions should, ideally, crosscheck the background of their trainers with the police before employing them.