The NIA had on Saturday arrested three West Bengal natives residing in Ernakulam, who allegedly part of the Al Qaeda terror module.

Officials at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi
news Defence Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 09:25

The security measures at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi has been beefed up after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday busted a terror module of Al Qaeda in Ernakulam district of Kerala. The NIA had revealed that the arrested terrorists intended to launch terror attacks on vital installations in the country with the aim to kill people. "The SNC will continue to take all precautions against all possible threats," a Defence source told PTI.

Highly placed sources in the Kochi city police said they have been identifying the terror elements, monitoring the activities of the people visiting and camping in the city. "We are very well prepared to deal with any form of such terror threats," a senior officer said, reacting to the arrest of three West Bengal natives from Ernakulam district.

Acting on a tip-off provided by central intelligence agencies, the NIA, with the help of the state police forces, carried out raids in the intervening night of September 18 and 19 at Ernakulam in Kerala. Three natives of West Bengal — Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen — who posed as migrant workers, were arrested from Pathalam and Perumbavoor in Ernakulam on Saturday. The arrested men lived in rented houses in Perumbavoor in Ernakulam rural and Pathalam in Kochi city, the police officer added.

Another six men — Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman — were arrested during the raids that were held at Murshidabad in West Bengal.

Murshid Hasan, who was arrested from Kerala, is said to be the leader of the gang.

A senior police officer said the state police have been working to identify the cadres of terror groups landing in Kerala.

"The people suspected to have terror links are put on surveillance. We are always on the lookout for such elements. This is an ongoing activity," the officer said when asked about the steps taken by the state police to identify the terror suspects in Kerala.

The police do not publicise the type of works being done on the ground to tackle terrorists, he said.

Opposition slam state govt

Meanwhile, the Congress and the BJP attacked the state government over the issue, alleging the state has become a hub of terrorists under CPI(M)-led LDF rule.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Mullappally Ramachandran alleged the state police failed to trace the presence of al-Qaeda terrorists in the soil of Kerala.

"With the arrest of three al-Qaeda terrorists from the state, it is evident that that law and order machinery in the state has collapsed and the state has become fertile soil for terror groups," Ramachandran told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

BJP state president K Surendran claimed Kerala has become a "hideout" for terrorists under the rule of both CPI(M)-led LDF and Congress-led UDF.

He also claimed the state government ignored a recent UN report on terrorism that warned that there are "significant numbers" of ISIS terrorists in Kerala and about Al-Qaeda terrorists planning attacks in the country.

Read: NIA busts Al Qaeda terror module, 9 arrested from Kerala and Bengal

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