Kerala Police claims six more youths from Kannur have joined ISIS

The influence of fundamental Islam in the state Kerala has grown substantially over the last few years and is a grave cause of concern for national security. Today, Kerala Police confirmed that 6 more youths from Kannur, who allegedly worked with the radical group Popular Front of India (PFI), have joined ISIS.

The development comes amid police trying to confirm news about the death of five Islamic State sympathisers from the district in Syria. Three youths – Mithilaj, Abdul Razzak and Rashid – with suspected terror links to the ISIS were arrested by the Valapattinam police earlier this month. Their interrogations revealed that the terror outfit may also be spreading its links into Karnataka’s Kodagu district. These revelations come in after Kerala Police had confirmed the death of another five men in Syria, all from Kannur.

It is alleged that the youth worked with PFI, which is a radical group accused of carrying out ‘Love Jihad’ in the state of Kerala. Former Vice President Hamid Ansari came under a lot of fire for attending a program organised by the women’s wing of PFI.

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The increasing Islamic radicalisation of Kerala is posing a threat to national security. Funding from radical organisations in Gulf countries has never been addressed in Kerala, this is a cause of concern especially given the illicit trade between the Gulf and Kerala. This can also be attributed due to appeasement politics, which was the hallmark of the previous Congress led alliance in Kerala, which ruled under the banner of the United Democratic Front. However, reports from the MHA and Wikileaks suggests that funding from the Gulf is immense- an example here states that India received Rs. 1,700 Crore funds from Saudi Arabia in 2015.

While the government has taken steps by cancelling the FCRA Licences of Muslim organisation with dubious transactions, however more seems to be done to address radicalisation. Proliferation of groups like Popular Front of India (PFI)- a radical Muslim organisation originating in Kerala pose a grave security threat to both Kerala and the rest of India due to their links with the terrorists outfits abroad. According to the report from National Investigative Agency (NIA), PFI have been receiving funds through clandestine means from the Gulf.

The NIA has claimed that PFI has also been allegedly involved in influencing the youth, many of whom have backgrounds in medicine and engineering to join ISIS and wage war in Afghanistan and the middle east. ISIS in Afghanistan has released videos commemorating ‘martyrs’ from Kerala and urging many more from the state to join them in their fight. In a strategic operation based on information about ISIS recruiters operating in northern Kerala, the Kerala police launched Operation Pigeon and saved 350 people from joining ISIS.

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