S. Anandan and Anand Haridas

Youths from Ernakulam, Kannur slain in Kashmir

Kochi: Harris, owner of the Palarivattom-based Prime Travels which offers rent-a-car service, is being questioned by the police in connection with the probe into the killing of four Keralite militants in Kashmir in two encounters early October.

Security forces on Sunday morning revealed that one of the militants killed was Mohammed Yassir, 28, a resident of Chakkaraparambu in Ernakulam. “Yassir was originally Varghese Joseph, a Christian, till eight months ago.

He had figured on the police’s KD list following his involvement with a goonda gang which terrorised the city. Now, Harris and four other acquaintances of Yassir are being interrogated as they used to frequent Varghese Joseph’s house but we are not in a position to say whether they anyway worked in tandem with the anti-national activities carried out by Yassir,” sources said.

He converted to Islam eight months ago and moved to Kozhikode three months ago. However, his family members told the police here on Sunday that they had not heard from him for the last couple of months.

They were under the impression that he had gone to the Gulf in search of employment. The police are now sending across his details, like fingerprints, to confirm the identity.

Meanwhile, intelligence sources told The Hindu that Yassir’s identity was ascertained after a Kerala Police team that had gone to Kashmir to collaborate in the investigation confirmed it with the photographs of slain militants in possession of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

“What helped the investigation were the calls made by a five-member militant group (of which one person managed to escape) to different numbers in Kerala. They spoke in chaste Malayalam,” sources said.

Details pertaining to their affiliation and the route taken by them are not immediately known.

However, the sources said it was lure of money that plunged this bunch into anti-national activities. “It was not indoctrination or anything. The group, which already had a criminal background, was driven by unalloyed greed into joining hands with terrorist groups,” the sources said.

Sources said they had been getting intelligence reports about youth going away for religious training. The situation was made more complicated as no ‘missing’ cases would be reported by the families concerned even when these young men disappeared for long periods.

Raid at house

Special Correspondent writes from Kannur:

The house of a youth here who is suspected to be among the four militants from the State killed in encounters in Jammu and Kashmir was raided by a police team headed by District Superintendent of Police S. Sreejith on Sunday.

Muhammad Fahis (24), from Muzhathadam under the Kannur Town police station limits, was believed to be one of the four Keralites killed in the encounters earlier this month.

The police had already confirmed that Fayaz from Maidanappally here was among the suspected militants killed in Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir. Two persons who had links with them had also been arrested.

The police raided Arafa, house of Fahiz, son of Abdurrahiman, at Muzhathadam for nearly three hours. His mother and sister were present during the raid.

The police got information from his parents that he was missing since September 10.