Jihad Continues Unabated In Far South
On September 22, 2016, Sasikumar (36), Coimbatore District Media Coordinator and Spokesperson of Hindu Munnani ( HM), was returning home from Gandhipuram after work at about 11 pm. When he was nearing his residence at an area called Subramaniyapalayam near Thudiyalur on Mettupalayam Road, he was waylaid by four persons (suspected jihadis), who had been following him on two motorcycles. They hacked him several times and escaped from the spot. Nearby people took Sasikumar to the hospital, where he died after about half an hour without responding to treatment.
As Hindu Munnani has a considerable presence in Coimbatore, the news of Sasikumar’s death spread fast and cadres belonging to HM and BJP started gathering, protesting against the murder and demanding the immediate arrest of the assailants.
The next afternoon, after Sasikumar’s body was handed over to his family after postmortem, a huge funeral procession was undertaken by the organisation, which had also called for a state-wide bandh earlier. General public also joined the funeral procession, which was peaceful and orderly. In due course of time, when Muslims provoked the cadres by shouting ‘Allah o Akbar’ and when the news of Hindus from suburban areas getting beaten up in Muslim-dominated areas came in, the angry cadres indulged in sporadic violence, in which shops and vehicles were tar geted for attack. Protests were held and processions were conducted at nearby districts such as Tiruppur, Erode and Nilgiris too. Around 108 people have been arrested so far for the violent incidents, while six separate teams have been formed for apprehending the assailants.
Being a media coordinator, Sasikumar was active not only in media circles but also in social media. He was canvassing against jihad mentioning local and international terrorist organisations on Facebook, which resulted in his getting threats. He was given a Personal Security Officer (PSO) by the state police, but unfortunately for him the security was withdrawn two months before. However, he is believed to have given complaints to the police twice, about the threats he had been receiving through Facebook and telephone. It is also understood that he was instrumental in conducting the Ganesh Chaturthi festival successfully. The police have failed to treat his complaints seriously.
After the murder and subsequent violence, Coimbatore is tensed, as it is a district already known for Hindu-Muslim conflicts. Having failed in their duty of being proactive in anticipation, the police are not willing to take chances again and hence they have increased vigilance and security in and around Coimbatore. Here it would be pertinent to recall the murder of Constable Selvaraj and the violence thereafter in 1997 and the subsequent serial bomb blasts in 1998 perpetrated by Al Umma which took the lives of 59 innocent people. Since then Coimbatore has always been remaining as a burning ember waiting to rise as huge flames.
In this context, it would be relevant to have a small recap of how Islamic fundamentalism flourished in the state. When a countrywide ban was enforced on SIMI, the Tamil Nadu unit took the avatars of “Al Umma” and “Jihad Committee” and Al Umma made its first major strike at the RSS HQs in Chennai in November 1993, killing 11 swayamsevaks.
The Jihad Committee, which has been regularly indulging in communal riots in the state, disintegrated when its leader Palani Baba was murdered. Thereafter the TMMK (Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam) was launched in 1995. It was founded by Hyder Ali, a SIMI activist and former associate of Palani Baba in the Jihad Committee, who left Al Umma after a tiff with its president Basha. Jawahirullah was also there with Hyder Ali as founding member of TMMK.
When Al Umma was banned for the Coimbatore blasts in February 1998, it changed colour as ‘Manitha Neethi Paasarai” (MNP). Thus, neither the banning of SIMI and Al Umma, nor disintegration of the Jihad Committee, reduced Islamic fundamentalism in the state. In fact, it started growing in different avatars like SDPI (Social and Democratic Party of India), PFI (Popular Front of India), TNTJ (Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamath), etc., with the support of Dravidian parties, which go to any extent for the sake of vote banks.
Meanwhile, in July 2009, TMMK started its political wing by name Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) and its leaders started contesting elections by forming alliances with Dravidian parties. Because of the support of Dravidian parties, former extremists, who have a terror track record, have started masquerading as political leaders now giving sermons on democracy and secularism.
There is a general feeling outside the the state that Tamil Nadu is normally peaceful and that terror attacks are confined to the RSS HQs attack of 1993 and the Coimbatore blasts of 1998. The reality is that the state has been infested by Islamic Terror from early eighties. Starting from the brutal attack on former BJP National President Jana Krishnamurthy in 1984, Islamic terror has so far claimed 138 lives apart from maiming more than hundreds.
The growth of Islamic fundamentalism was apparent during the DMK regime between 1996 and 2001. Though the law and order was comparatively better during AIADMK rule between 2001 and 2006, clandestine operations continued and sustained fundamentalism. This became evident when five MNP cadres were arrested on July 22, 2006 in Coimbatore (DMK came back to power in May 2006) on charges of plotting serial bomb blasts similar to the 1998 blasts. The five were acquitted on February 9, 2008 on grounds of being arrested on false charges!
Besides, half a dozen cadres of Al Umma were suddenly released from Palayamkottai prison in May 2006, within days of the DMK government taking charge. During the Ganesh Chaturthi festival and visarjanam (immersion) processions, the TMMK habitually creates hurdles in many places. The worst incidents occurred in 2007 in Thammampatti near Attur in Salem district, where hundreds of innocent Tamil Hindus were arrested on false charges and it was alleged that state police committed human rights violations against arrested Hindus.
Regarding the release of Islamic fundamentalists by the DMK, Indian Express (August 8, 2006) reported, “Senior Policemen in Thirunelveli were shocked by what they termed the DMK Government’s ‘blatant sympathy’ for the Muslim fundamentalists.” This misplaced sympathy for the sake of vote banks is allegedly the reason behind the government’s refusal to appeal against the acquittal of Abdul Nazar Madani in the Coimbatore blasts case.
With the release of these fundamentalists from various prisons, Muslim pockets have begun to be Talibanised. With Talibanisation comes the oppression of women. A woman running a tea shop and another working in a local beedi factory were waylaid and murdered in broad daylight in Thirunelveli, for trivial reasons, in the name of religion. Indian Express (March 26, 2007) reported, “the police spoke of Al Umma, the fundamentalist outfit which had become weak after the arrest of more than 100 of its members in the Coimbatore case, which under the DMK regime had been rejuvenated and was trying to enforce edicts on the Muslim community in the districts of south Tamil Nadu.” Now at present, TNTJ stands foremost in promoting Wahhabism brand of Islam among the Muslim community in the state.
In an earlier report on February 17, 2007, The New Indian Express, Chennai, reported: “The ‘Q’ branch of the state police is now concerned about the formation of a new Islamic outfit, ‘Popular Front of India’ (PFI), a coordinated effort between three organisations – Karnataka For Dignity (KFD), Karnataka; Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP), Tamil Nadu; and National Development Front (NDF), Kerala. The new organisation was launched on February 16, 2007 in Bangalore, ‘to coordinate & strengthen grassroot level developmental activities throughout the country,’ followed by an ‘Empower India’ conference in the garden city. Though the organisation’s agenda has been well spelt out – democracy & social justice, the state police fear that the organisation had been set up to propagate hardliner ideology. A ‘Q’ branch official had said, ‘What is worrying us is the fact that a majority of the leaders of this new front belonged to the now banned SIMI’. The decision to launch Popular Front of India (PFI) has been taken at a conference of KFD, MNP & NDF held on November 22, 2006 at Calicut. The leaders of PFI include K.M. Shareef, President of KFD, Gulam Muhammed, leader of MNP and Abdur Rahman Baqari of NDF and they have decided to confine their activities to South India”.
So, the current scenario of jihad in the state must be seen with this backdrop in mind. Quoting 7 major terror incidents which have happened in Vellore (2), Tiruppur (1), Hosur (1), Dindukkal (1) and Coimbatore (2), Hindu Munnani sources say, “There was a lull in Jihadi killings with the advent of BJP led government at the center. Unable to digest the resurgence of Hindu organisations after witnessing current year’s successful Ganesh Chathurti celebrations, and the growing popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tamil Nadu, the Islamic fundamentalist organizations have started unleashing terror again”.
It would be pertinent to have a look at those incidents, to understand the present scenario.
In the early morning of September 10, 2016 at about 3 am, Mahesh, President of Vellore Division of Hindu Munnani, woke up to a huge sound just outside his house in Sathuvachari in Vellore town. Mahesh has been given a personal security officer after the brutal murder of his Senior Vellaiyappan in July 2013. Mahesh’s PSO rushed out and saw spillage of petrol in the front yard and on the motorcycle parked there.
The local police came for investigation and found a petrol bomb inside the veranda and three more bombs on the roof. Those bombs were placed in such a way that, if the bomb thrown inside the veranda goes off, then the fire would detonate the three bombs on the roof thereby causing severe damage to the entire house. The miscreants, who have come for detonating the bombs, have allegedly escaped after seeing the police patrolling the area. Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police and other officers visited Mahesh’s house and investigated.
Exactly at the same time, in another area named Sainathapuram, miscreants, who came on a motorcycle, hurled petrol bombs on a bus parked outside the office of Hindu Munnani Joint Secretary Srinivasan, who runs a bus transport company. The bus was burnt and before the fire could spread, it was put out by local people and office staff.
Vellore police are investigating and they have not obtained any clue relating to both the attacks so far. It is imperative to note that Vellore district is one of the districts of Tamil Nadu, which are most notorious for Islamic extremism. Before the murder of Hindu Munnani leader Vellaiyappan, BJP’s Medical Wing State Secretary Dr.Arvind Reddy was murdered here in October 2012. Then the infamous Ambur riots, in which Tamil Nadu police were taken to task by thousands of jihadis, and which caused a huge slur on Tamil Nadu police, happened in July 2015.
Why should jihadis target Mahesh and his colleague? The answer lies in the documentary titled “Tamil Nadu under Jihadi Siege” recently released by Hindu Munnani. The documentary has a separate section for Vellore, describing the jihadi activities going on in the district for about 10 minutes. All kinds of jihadi activities like love jihad, conversions, encroachments, obstructing temple processions and Hindu festivals, assaulting and murdering Hindus are happening at regular intervals in Vellore district. Mahesh, a very active leader, has testified for many of those activities, which has made him vulnerable. No wonder his house and his colleague’s office have been targeted!
On September 11, 2016, petrol bombs were thrown inside a hosiery unit owned by Shanmugam, who is the Treasurer of Hindu Munnani in Tiruppur district. The bombs were thrown through the back entrance of the unit at about 12.30 midnight. The miscreants, who came in a motorcycle, immediately escaped. Knitting machines and other equipments were burnt down and loss is estimated to the tune of Rs.15 lacs. The unit is located at Kuppuchipalayam in Palladam near Tiruppur. Palladam police are investigating and no clue has been obtained so far.
Tiruppur, which is close to Coimbatore, is yet another jihad prone district like Dindukkal and Vellore. As it is famous worldwide for its textiles, particularly hosiery products, it serves as an opportune place providing employments for millions of labourers, with its thousands of hosiery and textile factories. Number of Muslims from states such as Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and UP come to Tiruppur for employment and settle here. Some of them act as terror modules for Pakistan and Bangladesh based terror outfits and they clandestinely indulge in indoctrinating local youth. Moreover, the Tamil Nadu based fundamentalist outfits are allegedly providing them tacit support.
On July 05, 2016, West Bengal CID arrested an alleged ISIS recruiter by name Mohammed Moshiruddin alias Musha (25) at Burdhwan station, when he was traveling from Tiruppur, where he is currently residing, to his native village in Birbhum district. A sharp weapon, a firearm and other ammunition, six SIM cards, and two fake voter ID cards were seized from him. Owning a grocery shop in Thiruppur, he has been living with his wife and two children for the past six years. Tamil Nadu state intelligence department has been watching him for more than four months. He has reportedly used high-tech mobiles and made calls to Syria and Afghanistan and was also in touch with one ISIS leader Safwi Armar, who is said to be in charge of India operations. Musha is believed to be a sleeper module of Jamaat ul Mujahideen of Bangladesh (JuMB). Anticipating some attacks in West Bengal in the aftermath of the July 06, 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack in Dhaka, the central investigative agencies raised their radar and subsequently Musha was apprehended.
The next day, on July 06, 2016 IB sleuths raided his tin roofed house in Tiruppur and picked up his wife Shahila, two daughters and elder brother Asathulla and took them to an undisclosed destination for questioning. While Musha lived in Andipalayam, Ashathulla lived in Mangalam working in a farm nearby. Every time when he comes back
after a visit to his native place, Musha is believed to have brought ten or a dozen people with him for employment in Thiruppur. In this way, he has reportedly brought more than a hundred youth and investigation is going on if they also have extremist links.
On September 14, 2016, a Hindu girl Dhanya became a victim of Love Jihad. Hailing from Kerala her family has been living in Annur near Coimbatore. She was a graduate employed in a private firm for the last two years. Her parent had arranged for her marriage with a groom from Kerala and the engagement was also over. Shakir, who was stalking her for quite some time, was reportedly angry after learning about her engagement. When her parents were away on the ill fated day, he had barged in to her house through the back door and stabbed her several times leaving her to die in a pool of blood.
Soori, a realtor by profession, was the Krishnagiri district secretary of Tamil Nadu Vishva Hindu Parishad. On September 19, 2016, was brutally murdered by three persons at about 7 pm, in front of his office in Nehru Nagar. Soori was an upcoming leader in the district and he has been conducting the Ganesh Chathurthi festival in a grand manner for the last two years.
Sources from TN VHP smell a conspiracy by jihadis behind the murder. They feel the jihadis have utilized the personal enmity of Soori with his professional adversaries. Subsequently, G.Gajendran (29), S.Shajith Basha (25) and G.Babu (26) surrendered before the Judicial Magistrate of Pochampalli Sub Court in Krishnagiri district on September 19, 2016. The police have said that the real reason behind the murder would be known only after the custodial interrogation of the three men.
On September 19, 2016, Sankar Ganesh, an active functionary of Hindu Munnani was brutally attacked. He was chatting with his friend in front of a shop in Dindukkal. A gang of four men came and attacked him with sickles. He was hacked on the head, face, shoulder and hand on the left side. Before they could inflict more cuts on him, the shopkeeper friend did a wise thing of pulling Sankar inside his shop and downing the shutters. The gang after trying to open the shutter from outside for a few minutes, left grudgingly that they could not accomplish their task successfully. Meanwhile, Sankar’s friend called for the police and Sankar Ganesh was immediately rushed to the hospital and after giving the initial treatment and securing his life support system, he was shifted to Madurai Meenakshi Mission Hospital. The assailants followed Sankar Ganesh up to Madurai with an intention of killing him.
A surgery was performed on Sankar’s head the next morning and he is reportedly out of danger and recuperating. Pon.Radhakrishnan, Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Shipping, visited him at the hospital after surgery and enquired about his health condition. The telltale signs of the attack confirmed that it was a typical jihadi assault. Subsequently the police arrested four assailants namely Yasin, Malik, Jayakumar alias Basith and Suresh at Madurai flower bazar. Jayakumar and Suresh are recent converts and Suresh has been well acquainted with Sankar until he converted to Islam.
Why should Jihadis attack Sankar? The answer again lies in Hindu Munnani’s documentary. A section of the documentary highlights the growth of jihad in Dindukkal district and Sankar has given testimonies on wide ranging incidents that have happened in Dindukkal, apart from airing his views on the rise of jihad and conversion activities being undertaken by the Islamic fundamentalist outfits. Center and State have role responsibilities
The documentary titled, “Tamil Nadu in the Eye of Jihadi Storm” describes in detail the various jihadi activities going on in more than 20 districts of Tamil Nadu. It was released in February 2016 in Chennai, and in Delhi in April 2016 by senior BJP leader Dr.Subramanian Swamy and Hindu Munnani founder president Ramagopalan. Subsequently, Ramagopalan met Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh and his deputy Kiran Rijiju and handed over the documentary CDs with a memorandum requesting them for a complete investigation by NIA based on the proofs and evidences provided in the documentary.
The Chief Minister for her part, has been repeatedly claiming that law and order in the state is excellent. But the spate of murders, assaults and violent riots indulged in by Islamic fundamentalist outfits, during her previous regime and thereafter, tell a totally opposite story. None of the investigations undertaken by the state police on the various jihadi murders have been accomplished so far. The telling example being the case of the brutal murder of Kumara Pandian and his three brothers in Tenkasi (2006), which has not even come for trial in the court of law even after 10 years!
The state police have been living in denial or presumably on instructions from the powers that be. AIADMK government’s previous tenure witnessed brutal murder of five leaders belonging to BJP and Hindu Munnani and one hapless Hindu milk vendor (totally six murders). The state police have been claiming that the murders were a result of personal enmity, real estate issues and money dealings. The police even went to the extent of citing ‘illicit relationship’ also as one of the reasons in a few cases.
The Chief Minister, personally involved to solve the problems faced by actor Vijay and actor Kamala Hassan during the release of their movies Thuppakki and Vishwaroopam (which talked about terrorism), by negotiating with the 24 Muslim organisations, which objected to the release of those movies. She also went to the extent of addressing the media through TV channels for almost half an hour in the case of Vishwaroopam. When the Muslim organisations protested against the foreign production ‘Innocence of Muslims’ thousands of Muslims held the entire stretch of Mount road under captivity for four days and they even attacked the US Consulate on the arterial cathedral road. At that time, the CM made the CoP scapegoat, transferring him to another department. However, she conspicuously remained silent on the spate of murders of Hindu leaders and assaults on activists.
The sustained protests from Hindu organisations forced the then DGP, Chief Secretary and Home Secretary to visit Ooty to meet the Chief Minister who was officially working from her Kodanadu Bungalow then. After the meeting, the DGP released a long press statement citing the same old reasons for the spate of murders of Hindu leaders. The Chief Minister however, again preferred to remain silent on the issue.
Later, in the case of the murder of BJP leader Dr.Arvind Reddy, the Vellore police went to the cheapest extent of faking a team of murderers to close the case. All their tall claims got thoroughly exposed when they were forced to act and arrest the three dreaded terrorists Police Fakrudhin, Bilal Malik and Panna Ismil, the former when he was about to strike at the Tirupthi Sacred Umbrella procession in Chennai and the latter two after a prolonged encounter in Puthur near Andhra Pradesh border. During the course of enquiry, the terrorists themselves have confessed that they have murdered the BJP and Hindu Munnani leaders.
Still worse things were waiting to happen for the state police. The peak of jihad during the previous tenure of the AIADMK government was the shameful incident of state police getting brutally attacked and running for their life, at the hands of thousands of Muslims in Ambur in June 2015. The riot was well planned as retaliation to the death of a Muslim youth under police custody after he was apprehended in a Love Jihad case. Around 40 police personnel including women police were injured and hospitalized, some of them with terrible injuries. Public property and properties belonging to Hindus were targeted and the total loss of property was estimated to be Rs.10 crores. By first week of July, 118 Muslims were arrested and later released on bail after two weeks. The government didn’t bother to obtain compensation from the Muslim fundamentalist operations. Here again the Chief Minister’s silence was deafening!
Whatever said and done, this incident of Ambur riots would remain as a huge black mark in the annals of history of TN Police and also on their stature, forever. Unless the government gives a free hand to the men in uniform, Tamil Nadu can never be secured and protected and the jihadis can never be brought to book and the menace of jihad can never be eradicated.
The general public also has a huge responsibility of rising in unison against the menace of jihad, for the state is under severe threat due to the effete police force and an indifferent government.
Post Script: – The car belonging to Bose, member of BJP’s state executive council, was burnt allegedly by jihadis in the early morning of September 25, 2016 in Dindukkal. A few minutes later, petrol bombs were also thrown at the Dindukkal district BJP office. Hindu organisations are apprehensive that the state would witness more jihadi activities in the coming days due to the absence of Chief Minister, as she is hospitalised and not in a position to attend office.
by B.R.Haran, from Chennai