Two senior police officers, during their stint as Commissioner of Police of Kozhikode city, had expressed concern over the growing terrorist activities in the district, according to confidential cables released by WikiLeaks.
In one of the cables, titled ‘Shadowy NGO's Terrorist Ties Worry Kerala Observers,' a U.S. official attached to the Chennai Consulate states former Commissioner of Police Anup Kuruvilla John, now Superintendent of Police, Kannur, as “bluntly admitting that terrorism is one of his primary concerns. Many suspected terrorists picked up all over India seemed to have connection to Kozhikode.”
The origin of the cable dates back to October 7, 2008. Mr. John had two stints as Commissioner, from April 26, 2008 to May 28, 2009 and from February 28, 2011 to June 20, 2011.
About the defunct National Development Front (NDF), Mr. John had said that “within two years, the NDF would become a political party with all the moderating effects that brings.'' The NDF is now known in its new avatar as Popular Front of India (PFI).
The U.S. official had warned, “Keep an eye on NDF. One thing is abundantly clear: the NDF is worrying a lot of people in Kozhikode.”
The cable said the general consensus — among Hindu and Muslim interlocutors alike — is that the “NDF has strong links to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India. The group is quite secretive, which is not entirely unreasonable given the heavy hand of the Indian police and intelligence services, especially towards Muslim groups.”
But the group's claim to be a human rights organisation rings hollow in the face of credible allegations from a broad spectrum of people that it engages in targeted political violence. In fact, the U.S. official had quoted the Indian Union Muslim League Minister (IUML) Minister M.K. Muneer as saying that “the NDF is running terrorist training camps in Wayanad, to his concern that his IUML is losing its grip on Muslim voters in north Kerala. But regardless, the NDF bears watching as a possible terrorist group in the heart of one of India's increasingly radicalised Muslim enclaves,” the cable says.
In another unclassified cable, titled “Minor Bomb Explosions In North Kerala Raise Security Concerns,” dated March 14, 2006, former Commissioner of Police H. Venkatesh had said that the investigators of the twin blast at the Kozhikode bus stations on March 3, 2006 “are looking into the possible motives.”
Mr. Venkatesh, who was Commissioner from September 18, 2004 to July 30, 2006, had said that “Muslim groups who oppose the ongoing court trials of the 137 Muslims accused in a 2003 case of communal killings at Marad near Kozhikode might be behind the bomb blasts, but this is yet to be confirmed.”
Against the backdrop of these recent events, albeit minor, and the anti-U.S. attitude of Islamic groups dominant in the region, the U.S. official had recommended that U.S. Mission programmes and visits to Kozhikode and other north Kerala towns be coordinated with the Regional Security Office at the Consulate-General.