Kerala police identify local groups linked to Kashmiri ultras

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Kochi, Oct 27 (UNI) Kerala police have begun to identify local groups which recruited youths to send to Kashmir to fight alongside militants there, senior police officials said.

Rattled by the killing of four Keralite youths in two separate encounters with Kashmir police earlier this month, Kerala Police have launched a wide-ranging investigation to unearth the local links of the Kashmiri ultras.

''We are beginning to identify the local links and it appears that established overground groups have been recruiting youths to send to Kashmir. This appears to have been going on for the past one or two years,'' senior police officials told UNI here. However, they declined to divulge further details about the groups involved.

While indoctrination was a factor, money also was used to lure the youth, especially from disadvantaged families, they added.

Continuing its probe into the recruitment of Kochi native Varghese Joseph alias Mohd. Yasin, who was killed in Kashmir, the city police today interrogated his former associate 'Thamanam Shaji'.

Shaji was the leader of a goonda gang of which Varghese was a member.

''We questioned Shaji today and have got some clues,'' police officials involved in the investigation said.

Yesterday, police had taken into custody Harris, a local tour operator, who was also a close associate of Yasin and had played a role in the religious conversion of Varghese to Islam, following which he was sent to Kashmir.

UNI ARC VS1855

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