Five detained after terror warning in Tamil Nadu, Kerala

Police car

Chennai: Five persons, including a woman, have been detained for questioning as the police in Tamil Nadu and Kerala continued their close screening of people and places in the hope of securing clues relating to the reported infiltration of six Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists through the sea route from Sri Lanka.

The Kerala police on Saturday grabbed Abdul Khader Raheem, a native of Madavana near Kodungallur in Thrissur district, from the premises of the Thrissur district court, along with a woman who had gone there with him. The two were reportedly taken to a police guest house in Thrissur for questioning.

While the police refused to answer questions from media persons, Raheem’s lawyer said he had returned from Bahrain two days ago and came along with the woman to move a plea to “prove his innocence” before the law enforcement agencies following reports linking him to the LeT intruders into Tamil Nadu. The lawyer said Raheem had retained him to present his case that his ID proof was misused by someone and he was being framed in the case.

In Coimbatore, police detained three men on suspicion they are linked to the LeT intruders and were in touch with them before their sea journey from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu. Details of these suspects are not yet known.

“Some people are being questioned. No arrest has been made. We are verifying information from various sources”, director general of police L.K. Tripathy told this newspaper.

Meanwhile, the checking of vehicles on roads, passengers on trains and buses, pilgrims at places of worship and stepped up vigil at places of large congregations such as malls and movie halls, continued for the second day on Saturday. The surveillance had begun around midnight of Thursday-Friday immediately after the intelligence alert to the police forces in all the southern states warning of the infiltration of the six LeT terrorists. It was stated that one of them was from Pakistan while the rest were Tamil Muslims from Sri Lanka.

Since the intel input had stated that they came by the sea, the police in all the four southern states — particularly Tamil Nadu and Kerala — have launched an intensive effort to tap sources among the fishermen communities in the coastal areas to find out if anyone had seen a suspicious looking boat coming from Sri Lanka; or worse still, if any local fisherman had been involved in smuggling them in. Since no boat with alien markings has been found on the shores checked so far, it has been assumed that either the terrorists’ craft had returned to Sri Lanka after dropping them on the Tamil Nadu/Kerala coast or they had engaged a TN/Kerala fisherman to pick them up mid-sea from a Lankan boat, source said.

Woken up to the new challenge and threat, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have stepped up alert at sea to ensure no fresh intrusions happen and also to nab the six LeT men should they attempt to flee back to their safe haven in Eastern Lanka.

(The Asian Age)