An act of crime in which a Tamil Nadu police official was shot dead at a checkpost near Tamil Nadu-Kerala border on 8 January has brought in an angle of the involvement of sympathisers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS).
Y Wilson, a sub-inspector at the Kaliyakkavilai town in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari was shot by two people when he stopped their car for security check.
Police who rushed to the spot got the images of the two from a nearby mosque, where the two entered and made good their escape through another door and taking the Nagapattinam-Kanyakumari National Highway route before crossing into Kerala.
When the photographs of the two — Abdul Shamim and Thoufique Yusuf — were put out by police, it has thrown up a possible involvement of a network of those sympathising with ISIS.
While police in Tamil Nadu and Kerala are working in tandem to unravel the truth, media reports say that the cop was killed to avenge the recent detention of their associates in Bengaluru and Delhi.
Shamim has allegedly been involved in the murder of a Hindu Munnani leader K P S Suresh Kumar on 18 July 2014 at Ambattur in suburban Chennai.
Shamim and two others — Khaja Moideen and Syed Ali Nawaz — involved in the Ambattur murder were released on bail and failed to appear for a hearing in the case in December, forcing police to launch a search for them.
Yusuf is an accused in the case of an attempt on the life of a Bharatiya Janata Party member in Kanyakumari. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is also on the lookout for them, according to local police.
A few months ago, NIA had conducted search operations in Shamim’s and Yusuf’s houses at Edalakudy and Thiruvithancode respectively in Kanyakumari district and seized several documents.
Witnesses told police that Shamim and Yusuf were seen near Kaliyakkavilai market on the night the police official was murdered. Their friends are being probed now to find out if some sort of recce was conducted to kill Wilson.
With the law enforcement authorities looking for various angles to the murder of police official, a couple of significant developments took place in Delhi and Vadodara on Thursday (9 January).
In New Delhi, police said they had arrested Moideen, Nawaz — the two involved in the Ambattur murder — and Abdul Samad from a hideout near Wazirabad bridge. In Gujarat, Zafar Ali, wanted by Tamil Nadu and Delhi police, was arrested from his hideout in Vadodara.
Moideen, Nawaz and Samad are alleged to have stayed in Nepal briefly to procure arms and ammunition. The trio opened fire on Delhi police in a bid to escape before they were overpowered.
A Delhi police statement said Moideen had some associates in Bengaluru and had plans to revive ISIS networks across the country.
The police also said that they had set up a base in Nepal, which would be their hideout. A foreign handler is suspected to have helped them with the hideout in Delhi.
Zafar Ali, police said, had plans to launch a Gujarat module of ISIS.
The Tamil Nadu Q Branch police and NIA arrested three persons at Gurappanapalya in Bengaluru on Tuesday (7 January) by NIA and Tamil Nadu Q branch police for being part of a ISIS module in Karnataka.
The three — Mohammed Hanif Khan, Imran Khan and Mohammed Zaid — were in the possession of 89 rounds of bullets, three pistol, bomb-making material and an instrument that can be used to climb high walls.
The three have been taken to Tamil Nadu and police are probing if any terror attack was being planned on Republic Day (26 January).
These developments come on the heels of reports that Tamil Nadu is the place where most ISIS modules have been unearthed between 2014 and 2019. Kerala, from where nearly 100 had gone to join ISIS, is third among the states for detection of ISIS modules.
People arrested from these modules have said that they have been influenced by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As a driver, who drove buses from Bengaluru to Mumbai, he was involved in helping the three persons arrested in Bengaluru. Maharashtra police have been alerted to look out for any clues for trouble.
Police suspect a deeper conspiracy since the shoot-out on Tamil Nadu-Kerala border seemed to be well planned with the latest firearm.
M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani
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