This week the British Police foiled a plot to kidnap, torture and murder a British Soldier by nine British citizens, all of Pakistani descent. Earlier the Police had foiled another plot which involved bombing several airlines flying from London to United States, again planned by British citizens of Pakistani descent. Intolerance has been spreading in Britain and the ingredients required for creating terrorists are all present in sufficient quantities, like availability of weapons and indoctrinated civilians. The British Govt. also had no problems in letting in Mullahs preaching jihad and now all that is coming to bite them.
Though no such plots have originated or have been busted in Kerala, the stage is slowly being set for it to be a base for future activities. Recently the Customs officials in Kochi seized a huge quantity of rifles and air guns, concealed among more innocent looking cargo in a ship which arrived from Dubai. Also found in the boxes were copies of Qur’an and police has been searching for an importer named Koya Haji. In 2003 when a group of Hindu fishermen were murdered in Marad, a large quantity of arms were discovered in the local mosque. According to the reports in a local newspaper, the collection of arms started four months before the incident.
Terrorism needs foot soldiers and that too is being setup. Though Frederick Forsyth’s new novel, The Afghan, had two terrorists who were Muslims from Kerala, that doesn’t seem like fiction now. Migrants are returning back from the Persian Gulf with stricter views of Islam and there has been rise in fundamentalist tendencies. There is stress on abiding by the strict Islamic dress codes for women and recently one organization even demanded that Muslim youth stop watching soccer. Muslim groups are also asking their followers to keep their children away from Hindu ceremonies. This was never the case in Kerala and such situation of intolerance for other religions can easily exploited for mischievous purposes.
When you spot such tendencies, you would think that politicians would rush to defuse the situation. Not in Kerala. Both the ruling Communists and opposition Congress have found it convenient to close their eyes. After the Marad incident, when the police wanted to search the local mosque for arms, they were stopped by the leaders of the Muslim League (partners of the Congress) and later when the police entered, they found a large amount of weapons. A judicial commission which probed this incident reported that at least one senior politician of Muslim League had advance knowledge of the conspiracy. For the recent state elections, the Communist Party openly courted Abdul Nasser Madani, who is in jail for the 1998 blasts in Coimbatore.
In Bob Woodward’s book, The State of Denial, there is an incident, a few months before Sept 11, 2002 when George Tenet tells the National Security Advisor Condi Rice that he is able to see a pattern in intelligence which suggests that al-Qaeda is planning something big. He says he cannot find the smoking gun, but on connecting the dots, he seems something ominous. Condi Rice did not do anything with this information. The pattern in the information from Kerala suggests that something is afoot. In fact Defense Minister, A. K. Antony, a former Chief Minister has said that the Kerala’s coastal region is unsafe.
In the late 70s in Punjab, the Congress followed a policy of communal appeasement which bough the Sikh right into politics and we got Bhindranwale. The state later exploded with violence as a result of the violence used for suppression. After 30 years we are now starting along the same path in Kerala showing us that we have learned enough from history to repeat it again.
(Cross posted on INI Signal)