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God's own country, now a terror base

By George Iype in Kochi
October 30, 2006 12:51 IST
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Is Kozhikode in Kerala the new base of terrorist group Al-Badr for planning and executing terror attacks in south Indian cities?

Police teams from Kerala and Karnataka, which are investigating the antecedents of Mohammed Fahad, a suspected member of the Al-Badr who was arrested from Mysore last week for planning to attack the Vikas Soudha in Bangalore and the Central Institute of Indian Languages in Mysore, say several members of the terrorist outfit may have camped in Kozhikode in the last few months.

Initial investigations reveal that Fahad had maintained close links with his father's relatives in Kozhikode. The police have seized several letters, diaries and compact discs belonging to Fahad from his relatives' house during extensive searches over the last three days.

Contents of the letters point the Al-Badr that operates closely with several Pakistan-based jihadi groups in Jammu and Kashmir and has been spreading its network across the country in the last few months.

"We are carrying out further searches. We want to find out what kind of links Fahad had with his relatives in Kozhikode," S Anandakrishnan, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Kannur Range, told

He said investigations are also being conducted to find out whether Fahad has contacts with any organisation in Kerala.

The police said Fahad was the seventh son of Abdulla Koya who migrated from Kozhikode to Karachi in Pakistan in the early '70s. Koya is one among the hundreds of Muslims who have migrated from Kozhikode and Malappuram to Pakistan during and after Independence.

Investigations have proved that Fahad had travelled to Kozhikode in February and March this year. During his trip, Fahad stayed in his stepmother's house at Kappad, and with his father Abdulla Koya's sisters in Palazhi and Iringalloor, both suburbs in Kozhikode.

Neither the Intelligence Bureau nor the state police has any clues about his stay in these places. But the police is now investigating whether the
bomb blasts at the bus station in Kozhikode on March 3 had any connections with Fahad's visit to the city.

The Karnataka police have taken Fahad's stepbrother Abdul Khader into custody. Khader runs a fancy shop in Mysore and both his children are studying in Bangalore, while his wife lives at Kappad in Kerala.

Khadeeja, one of Fahad's relatives in Kozhikode, has told the police that he had stayed with her in March. She also told them two of Fahad's friends had come to her house a few days ago and asked for a packet that he had kept at her house, which she handed over. The police claim it contained Fahad's Pakistani passport. Fahad, who comes from north Nizamabad in Karachi, was issued an Indian visa on November 30, 2005, for 45 days.

Fahad's Kerala connections have prompted the state police to closely monitor the nearly 100 Pakistani nationals living in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.

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George Iype in Kochi