Kerala tight-lipped on suspects held for terror links

October 29th, 2008 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 29 (IANS) The Kerala government is tight-lipped on the number of arrests the state police have made in the past few days after it came to light that four of the five militants killed in a gunbattle in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month were Keralites.Unconfirmed reports speak of some four dozen people, mostly youth, having been detained for their suspected terror links but the police have confirmed only two arrests.

Speaking to reporters here Wednesday after the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said it would be counter-productive to give out the number of arrests at this stage as this would hamper investigations.

“You all know that we have formed an anti-terror squad specifically for this and they are doing their job. Giving out details about the number of arrests and such things would be counter-productive,” Achuthanandan said.

So far, the police have officially announced that two youths - Faisal and Jaleel - have been arrested and are in police custody.

Jaleel was arrested for receiving telephone calls from Kashmir from one of the Keralites killed. Jaleel was picked up as he was believed to be involved in recruiting youths for terrorist activities.

Speaking to reporters here after a meeting of top police officials, Home Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty, who also holds charge for local self government and rural development ministtry, said it was decided to strengthen both the intelligence and the anti-terror squads of the state police.

“It has been decided that every day, top police officials will review the progress made in this case and inform the government about this. The media reports surfacing on this issue appear to be incorrect and all of you should ensure that you present the correct picture,” Kutty told media persons.

Kutty also described as incorrect media reports quoting Faisal as telling the police that 300 youth have been recruited in Kerala for terrorist activities.

“Arrested people will say a lot of things to confuse and mislead the investigation. Only when the investigations are complete will we know how much truth is there. They will say a lot of things and you should be judicious (in reporting this),” Kutty added.

He also cautioned against targeting a particular community as being the root cause of all terrorist activities.

“Terrorists are terrorists and their religion is incidental. Banning any particular outfit is no solution because past experience has proved this,” Kutty said.

This was in response to a question whether the government was planning to ban the National Development Front that has strong roots in districts like Kannur, Malappuram and Ernakulam, which the police have identified as being the hotbed of suspected anti-national activities.

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