The life sentence handed down by a special court on Friday to 13 convicts in the Kashmir recruitment case, which unravelled the terror links of some youths in the State, draws to a close an investigation that shed light on the extent of penetration of jihadist groups in the State.

The case (Crime No. 356/08), first registered at the Edakkad police station here following the arrest of K.V. Abdul Jaleel from his house at Kadachira in October 2008, uncovered the influence of jihadi outfits elsewhere on radicalised youths in the State, especially in Kannur. The arrest followed the disclosure that two of the four Keralites killed by security forces in Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir earlier that month were natives of this town. The deceased were among the ‘recruits’ of jihadist outfits in Jammu and Kashmir to wage war against India. The case also turned the spotlight on the sway of terror groups to indoctrinate youths to take up arms.

A major breakthrough in the investigation in the case, initially carried out by a joint investigation team (JIT) of the State police, was the arrest of Thadiyantavide Nazeer, who was found to be the kingpin of a module that recruited youths to Jihadi outfits, and his associate Shafas Shamsuddin on the Indo-Bangladesh border in December 2009. Nazeer, hailing from Kannur, had been a follower of Abdul Nasir Maudany after the latter formed the Islamic Sevak Sangh.

The charge sheet filed by the JIT in the District and Sessions Court at Thalassery in January 2009 before the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) brought to light the operations of the terror module, which had organised activities to brainwash youths for recruiting them for the jihadi cause. It was found by the investigators that ‘catechising’ classes had been conducted under guise of ‘tariqat’ (a school of Soofism) classes at different places, including Kannur, Kanhangad, Malappuram, and Hyderabad. The module, according to the JIT charge sheet, had begun its operations in 2006. The new recruits had been attracted to the module by its operatives by appealing to a feeling of victimhood of the Muslim community in the country, the investigators had then revealed.

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