G. Anand

SIMI recruiting technically qualified youth in State

Expertise of campus recruits used to train core cadres

Thiruvananthapuram: Intelligence officials suspect that there can be at least a few local extremist elements motivated enough to carry out bombings in public places in the State.

Official sources said there was sufficient evidence to suggest that the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had considerable influence among a set of educated youth hailing from certain pockets in the State.

Security agencies also have information that SIMI, working under the cover of several mainstream and campus-based organisations in the State, was recruiting technically qualified youth (in few numbers though) for its subversive activities.

SIMI was using the expertise gained by its campus recruits to train its core cadres in sending coded messages through the internet. Such recruits were also suspected to be training urban SIMI cells in internet telephony and, perhaps, even bomb-making using commonly available material.

Security officials believe that such secret cells operating from houses or college hostels can possibly aid foreign-based extremist organisations intent on carrying out terrorist attacks in the State.

The police are monitoring the activities of certain suspected SIMI activists at Irrattupettah in Kottayam and Kunjunnikkara and Desham near Aluva in Ernakulam district.

Security agencies are also aware that several Keralites have been associated with terrorist organisations. In 2006, the Aluva police arrested two alleged SIMI activists, Shibily and Adam Hussien, on the charge of holding a secret meeting at Benanipuram.

The Mumbai police had named C.A.M. Basheer, an aeronautical technician hailing from Aluva, as one of the persons who helped a SIMI cell plant bombs at public places in Mumbai on March 29, 2003. Intelligence agencies believe Basheer to have fled to Saudi Arabia using a false passport and that he is heading the extremist “Muslim Defence Force.”

The Gujurat police had shot dead Pranesh Kumar alias Javed Ghulam Muhammad Sheikh (an alleged SIMI worker hailing from Aluva) in 2005 in what they claimed was an encounter with an extremist group plotting the murder of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier in 2003, the Tamil Nadu police had shot dead Imam Ali alias Harikumar, a native of Haripad, in an alleged encounter in Bangalore.

The “encounter” had taken place shortly after the State intelligence reported Imam Ali’s presence at Mangalapuram in Thiuvananthapuram. Imam Ali allegedly headed the now defunct Al-Mujahideen. Both Pranesh and Harikumar had converted to Islam in the 1990s.