Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah poses for a profile shoot on September 18, 2015 in Bengaluru. (Hemant Mishra/Mint via Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • Under the current chief minister, the state has been caught looking away when unabashed and violent display of Islamism has been carried out by various outfits

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials conducted a raid in Kerala on 17 March 2016, during which they arrested a person called K V Abdul Jaleel. The reason? Jaleel had assembled 21 men in April 2013 and imparted a special training that taught the men how to make bombs and detonate them in heavily populated areas without being noticed, besides tutoring them in the intricacies of guncraft - from country pistols to AK-47 and more.

You might ask who these 21 men were. They were all members of Popular Front of India (PFI) and/or the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). The case is known in NIA records as the Narath training camp case. Initially, the probe in the murder of an innocent Hindu activist, named Sharat Madivala, in Karnataka’s Bantval was going nowhere. It might also be the case that a few vested interests in the region ensured that the case remained stalled. However, when the central government began showing interest in the progress of investigation, the Karnataka police was forced to restart the probe with renewed vigour. Subsequently, the police arrested two people, Abdul Shafi and Khalilullah.

Khalilullah is the president of PFI in Chamarajanagar district of southern Karnataka, and as expected, soon after the arrests, the PFI claimed that its ‘reputation’ was being sullied by the investigation, which was being pursued by the police due to fear of protests from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party in opposition in Karnataka. The police, however, ignored PFI’s accusations and continued with the investigation and in a few days, arrested three more people – Riyak Paranki, Sadiq Nelyadi and Khalim alias Khalimullah. Of them, Khalim from Chamarajanagar was a close aide of Khalilullah. In one way or the other, all the five arrested in connection with the gruesome murder of Madivala were associated with the PFI, either directly or indirectly.

Nine months before the murder of Madivala, i.e. in October 2016, a man named Rudresh was murdered in broad daylight in the Shivajinagar area of the Bengaluru city. A smear campaign against Rudresh started almost immediately with Congress activists and the gang of ‘intellectuals’ nurtured by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah leading the charge. Some accused Rudresh of giving loans at exorbitant interests. A few others insinuated that he participated in a real estate deal which went bad. A few also suggested that since he was an aspirant for the Shivajinagar ticket of the BJP in the 2018 assembly elections, he was eliminated by his rivals within the party – all in all, a well-executed character assassination.

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The NIA took up the Rudresh case too and after a thorough investigation, successfully arrested five men for the murder. They were Irfan Pasha, Wasim Ahmed, Mohammed Nadiq alias Mohammed Mazar, Mohammed Mujibullah and Asim Sharief. A thorough interrogation revealed that none of the five arrested had any personal enmity with Rudresh. However, these young Muslim youth had been instructed by seniors within an organisation to murder someone from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in order to induce fear and prevent young Hindus from joining the sangh in larger numbers.

Accordingly, the five Muslim youth murdered Rudresh in broad daylight on a road in Shivajinagar, while he was returning from a shakha (meeting) and was talking to his friend. They used a machete to kill while riding a bike and fled from the area shortly after that. Claiming that only one of the five arrested by the police for the daylight slaughter was connected to PFI, the organisation started saying that the investigation was an attempt to frame it for the daylight slaughter. The media farce orchestrated by PFI and its fellow intelligentsia was given a quiet burial when the NIA chargesheet revealed that all the five arrested were either members of PFI or associated with its arm, SDPI.

The above are just two examples of the terror that major parts of Karnataka are facing. Almost every killing of a Hindu activist in this region eventually leads to the doorsteps of two terror-linked organisations – PFI and SDPI. Incidentally, the communists in Kerala, who, together with the state’s Congress members, were responsible for the growth of these organisations, have now given affidavits to the Kerala High Court revealing the truth about their terror links. Activists from SDPI were caught as far away as Jharkhand by the Jharkhand state police for trying to instigate riots in the state in favour of Asaduddin Owaisi and jihadist preacher Zakir Naik. Intelligence reports have also said that the 2011 kidnapping of two students in Mysore and the 2012 temporary exodus of north eastern people living in Bangalore was instigated by these two organisations.

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Despite all this, the state’s Chief Minister continues to allow organisations like PFI and SDPI to function without restraint in most of Karnataka. In 2015, he had brazenly withdrawn criminal cases against around 1,600 of PFI and KFD activists. The gang of ‘intellectuals’ that he nurtures found it rather convenient to ignore this egregious and brazen attempt at the subversion of the rule of law. One is forced to ask, to what avail did the police endanger themselves in arresting these Islamist thugs to protect law and order in the state?

It is pertinent to note that activists from PFI and SDPI clamoured and attempted to subdue a senior policeman in Mangalore. In 2009, they had burnt police jeeps and tried doing the same to a police station in Mysore. In another instance, PFI activists named Shamir and Mohammed Niyaz assaulted ASP Itappa with deadly weapons and fled thinking that he had died. Luckily, despite losing so much blood, Itappa survived to tell the tale.

Believe it or not, these institutions organised a massive rally to support Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein within weeks of the organisation being established. The rally took place in Bengaluru city, renowned worldwide for being the IT hub of India. Not many seem to have asked them why they were organising an event to protest the actions of a foreign court when it was dealing with a dictator. The then chief minister of Karnataka, H D Kumaraswamy, should have refused permission for such a rally. But how could he, who was eyeing Muslim votes, do the right thing?

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The then Chief Minister thought that it would be all right to allow these radical Muslims to vent their anger so that they have some peace of mind. What happened after the event, however, was shocking. The assembled supporters of these radical Islamist organisations went on a rampage during their protest procession in KG Halli, stoned the shops of Hindus enroute, forcibly entered the homes of Hindus in the area, and assaulted them. Similar actions were attempted in Shivajinagar, Frazer Town, Bharati Nagar and other areas near central and east Bengaluru. More than 50 vehicles were burnt and more than 25 policemen were injured during the riot with many of them being admitted to hospital with serious injuries.

The terror unleashed by SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) is well known to most in India. It was banned first by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 1 in the September of 2001. Initially, it was just a three-year ban on the organisation. With the fall of the NDA government and the arrival of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, the ban was extended by the UPA for two years. When the extended time was over, the UPA in 2006 extended the ban once again. The members and leaders of the now banned SIMI were waiting for an opportunity to regroup and continue their work. It was then that the Popular Front of India was born. It then merged itself with Kerala’s National Democratic Front, Tamil Nadu’s Manitha Neethi Pasarai and Karnataka’s Karnataka Forum for Dignity.

Abdul Rehman, the man who was the national secretary of SIMI, became the national secretary of PFI. SIMI state secretary for Kerala, Abdul Hamid Master, became the Kerala secretary of PFI. Despite the unmissable links between the two organisations, PFI continues to claim that it has no relationship with SIMI and also has no connections with Pakistan or any other global jihadi order. Another argument they put forward is that SDPI is an organisation which was established in 1993 itself. Such assertions beg the question that if the said organisation was established in 1993, why was it silent for 13 long years? Why were there no news reports about its activities in the Kannada and English media? Why did it become suddenly active around 2007, right in time to collect petro-dollars for organising pro-Saddam events in India?

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No doubt remains about the fact that the PFI became operational only around 2007. It is also beyond doubt that within weeks of its birth, SIMI organised terror training camps for Muslim youth in Binanipuram, Kerala. A Pakistan trained terrorist, Nasser, caught in early 2008 confessed that another camp of this sort was held by SIMI in late 2007, in Vagamon, Idukki, Kerala.

Even after all this has come to light, the PFI in Karnataka brazenly claims to be a legitimate and pro-peace organisation. Whenever the need arose, PFI activists land up in Siddaramaiah’s house to talk about the difficulties they were facing. On his part, the CM vocally opposes demands to ban these organizations.

The Karnataka police had charged around 1,400 PFI and KDF activists for rioting in Shivamoga and Hassan in 2010. It had also charged many PFI members in various cases across cities like Mysore, Kodagu and more for crossing the border from Kerala and committing criminal activities in the state.These were, as the reader would understand, cases of incredibly serious nature. All of them were released under a cabinet decision when K J George was the home minister despite objections of the home department.

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On the day after Sharat Madivala’s murder, a PFI activist sitting next to me in a TV debate argued for over an hour that the assault on Madivala was an RSS conspiracy. The only reason for us having to hear sermons of peace from PFI activists in TV studios is because of the unabashed support that the Chief Minister gives them.

A pertinent question is, how long will this continue?

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