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Southern Islamic Caliphate: A plot involving Jihadis from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala

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New Delhi, Arp 25: The establishment of an Islamic Caliphate has been top of the priority of the Islamic State. Now, with the Colombo bombing, it has come to light that one of the prime accused Zaharan Hashim had instructed jihadis not only in Sri Lanka, but also in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to help establish a southern Caliphate.

Southern Islamic Caliphate: A plot involving Jihadis from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala

On September 1 2018, a case was registered at the B-3 Variety Hall police station in Coimbattore. The case pertained to a criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused with the intention of furthering the objectives of the ISIS by targeting Hindu leaders and activists.

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The NIA which subsequently probed the case cited a video used by the accused in which Hashim urges youth from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to establish an Islamic rule in the region.

An NIA official part of the investigation tells OneIndia that it had become clear that Hashim was calling on the youth from South India to establish an Islamic Caliphate in the Southern region. In this context one must also look at the Kerala ISIS case in which several persons had joined the outfit.

It was also found that three persons from Kerala, Abdul Rashid Abdulla (Kozhikode), Bestin Vincent (Pallakad) and Ashfak Majeed (Kasargod) had travelled to Sri Lanka in 2016. The NIA officer says that these persons were in touch with Hashim.

In the Coimbatore case, the NIA chargesheeted Mohamed Ashiq A, Ismail S, Samsudeen, Mohammed Salauddin S, Jafar Shadik Ali and Shahul Hameed. These persons had come together to target Hindu leaders and also conspired to further the activities of the of the Islamic State by carrying out terrorist attacks. They had also planned on targeting persons who were critical of the ISIS, the NIA said.

Further the NIA also said that like their accomplices in Kerala, these persons from Tamil Nadu too were in touch with Hashim and were helping him set up the Southern Islamic Caliphate.

In December, the NIA carried out raids at seven locations in Tamil Nadu. The searches were carried out in Chennai, Coimbatore and one at District Vellapuram. One of the accused in the case, Ismail told the NIA that another accused person Ashik had promised them help for their operation. The NIA says that Ismail had links with the ISIS. The intention was to carry out a major operation on Ganesh Chaturthi. These developments are significant in the wake of the murders in Coimbatore.Munnani spokesperson C Sasikumar in 2016 and an atheist H Farook in 2017 were murdered by radical Islamic groups.

The first known ISIS recruit from India was in fact a resident of Cuddalore. Haja Fakkruddin, it may be recalled had in early 2014 left for Syria through Singapore to be part of the ISIS. This was followed by a series of events related to the group and there was an image on the social media that went viral, in which several youth were seen posing with ISIS merchandise.

The threat of the ISIS has been looming large in the state and there are several pockets where the problem is severe. While looking into Haja's case, it was found that he was radicalised by a Cuddalore based group.

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The role of the ISIS in Tamil Nadu was unraveled in a big way in 2014. In August 2014, the police arrested Abdul Rahman and Mohammad Rizwan from the Ramnathapuram district on the charge that they were distributing t-shirts with the ISIS emblem. A photo showing 26 youth posing with the t-shirt in front of a Mosque at Thondi had surfaced on the social media. While the police were not able to find any direct link with the outfit, it however showed that the ISIS was gradually being received in the state.

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