Yasin Bhatkal alias Sharukh, the co-founder of Indian Mujahideen arrested from Indo-Nepal border last week, had links with radical outfits in the south Indian state of Kerala.
This was revealed by Federal Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran while talking to reporters in New Delhi on Monday. He said that the investigation into the activities of the terrorist had revealed that he was in touch with some outfits in the state.
Ramchandran said some of these organisations were engaged in terrorist activities in the state. He said that the activities of these outfits were being closely monitored by the intelligence agencies. The minister refused to name the organisations
However, police sources in the state said Bhatkal, who is said to be involved in 140 blasts across the country, had visited the southern state on several occasions. He had visited places like Kannur, Kuttippuram and Cochin, according to the reports. Bhatkal was said to be in touch with members of the National Development Front (NDF), which was established in early 1990s with the avowed objective of uplifting the minorities, especially the Muslims.
Bhatkal was also said to be in touch with Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), a similar outfit active in the Mangalore region of Karnataka. Two IM activists arrested from Mangalore in 2008 had revealed that Bhatkal had participated in a freedom parade organised by KFD in Mangalore.
There were reports that Bhatkal had procured timer devices from Kerala for use in the blasts in Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad in 2008. Sainudeen, who developed the devices, was later arrested in connection with the Bangalore and Ahmedabad blasts.
Kerala has been under the intelligence radar ever since three youths from the state were killed in encounter on the Indo-Pak border in Kashmir in 2007. These youths were found trained in Kerala.
Subsequent investigations revealed that some terrorist outfits have been regularly training and recruiting unemployed youths from the state. The police found that two camps organised by the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) at Vagamon and Binamipuram in 2006 were for recruiting youths into terrorist outfits. The investigators have found that the extremist groups were recruiting unemployed youths with the offer of job and pushing them to extremist route. Police sources believe that at least 70 youths from the state have thus joined terror outfits.