Tamil Nadu

Kodaikanal Jewish settlement likely target of ‘Base Movement’

A Jewish settlement in Kodaikanal could have possibly been a target of the members of the ‘Base Movement’ who were arrested by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) earlier this week in Madurai and Chennai, according to sources. The crackdown on the ‘Base Movement’ members was based on input shared by the intelligence of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana police. The agencies that were probing the Chittoor and Nellore court blast cases tracked down the location of the suspects and alerted the NIA, police sources said.

“The NIA busted the gang at the right time. Going by seizures and available information, the suspects were planning something big in Tamil Nadu. A Jewish settlement in Kodaikanal could have been one of the targets. Two of the six terror suspects apprehended by the NIA in Kozhikode had a dry run in Kodaikanal and other vital installations in Southern India,” a senior police officer told ‘ The Hindu ’.

Since two of the six suspects held in Kozhikode belonged to Tamil Nadu, it was possible that they had links with the ‘Base Movement’ or may be part of it too. However, the Kerala module was suspected to have been headed by an IS operative. The analysis of mobile phone records, electronic gadgets and other materials seized in both the cases could provide more links and leads on the larger conspiracy.

“As of now, it appears that the leadership and funding of the ‘Base Movement’ is localised. However, more information on the network, agenda and plan of action would be known during custodial interrogation. One of their main targets was foreign nationals, particularly Jews,” the official said.

Al-Umma splinter group

Sleuths of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana intelligence who were closely tracking the suspects involved in the Chittoor and Nellore court blasts had gathered some specific inputs that led to the crackdown in Madurai.

“These suspects are believed to be a splinter group of the erstwhile Al-Umma. After the gunning down of Al-Umma leader Imam Ali and his associates in Bangalore by the Tamil Nadu police in 2002, some of those who were active in that organisation split into smaller groups.”

The ‘Base Movement’, an outfit formed by a handful of youth who were allegedly inspired by the ideology of al-Qaeda, could have spread its tentacles to others parts of Tamil Nadu and established links with “like-minded” organisations in Southern States.

Though some suspects apprehended told investigators that it was only a “five men army”, the sources said the movement could have roped in youth from Tirunelveli, Dindigul and Coimbatore districts.

The ‘Base Movement’ became active last year with the series of low-intensity explosions on court premises in Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Their intension was only to “register their presence” and “record their protest” to the prolonged trial in terror cases involving suspected Muslim fundamentalists who were either denied bail or given parole, the sources said.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 7:14:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Kodaikanal-Jewish-settlement-likely-target-of-%E2%80%98Base-Movement%E2%80%99/article16741462.ece

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