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Why has the Lankan MP’s links to Kasargod come under the ambit of the Indian agencies

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New Delhi, May 11: The arrest of a top Muslim leader and member of parliament from Sri Lanka in connection with the 2019 Easter Bombings has opened up a can of worms. On April 24, detectives took Rishad Bathiudeen, the leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Party into custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The police said that Rishad along with his brother Riyaaj were arrested on the basis of circumstantial evidence, while adding that they had connections with the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks.

Why has the Lankan MP’s links to Kasargod come under the ambit of the Indian agencies

Agencies in India who had been flagging concerns about the rise of Islamic terrorism in India have been following the case and investigations closely. Rishaad's visit to Kasargod in 2009 is under the scanner, while the agencies also are looking into his links with the religious leaders in the state.

Former Sri Lankan minister arrested for aiding bombers responsible for Easter Sunday attacksFormer Sri Lankan minister arrested for aiding bombers responsible for Easter Sunday attacks

In 2019, the National Investigation Agency had conducted raids in Tamil Nadu after a case was registered against six fro Coimbatore based on the information that they were propagating the ideology of the Islamic State. It was also learnt that some of the accused persons and their associates were in touch with the Sri Lankan ISIS/ Daish leader Zahran Hashim and his accomplices, over social media, with the intention of furthering the objectives of the ISIS/ Daish in India.

Following the arrest of Rishad and his brother, it was learnt that their father hailed from Padna in Kasargod and he had been in touch with some persons in the region. The ISIS link in Kasargod becomes important as five Muslims families had left for Syria from Padna in 2016 to join the outfit. It was also learnt that these persons had been to the Thowheed Jamaat in Sri Lanka, where they underwent religious training.

Officials tell OneIndia that it is too early to tell whether there is a link between Riyaaj Kasargod, but it is under probe.

Hashim who was one of the suicide bombers has a close link to India. In 2019, the NIA had conducted raids at several locations in Tail Nadu. It was found that a Coimbatore module was operating in a similar fashion like the one in Kerala. Both these modules had planned on carrying out attacks in South India, the NIA learnt.

The NIA found that a person by the name Mohammad Azharuddin had recruited persons both from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. was the leader of the module and had been maintaining the Facebook page named "KhilafahGFX", through which he had been propagating the ideology of ISIS/ Daish. The accused was a Facebook friend of Sri Lankan suicide bomber Zahran Hashim and other members of the module have also been sharing radical contents attributed to Zahran Hashim, over the social media.

It may be recalled that Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayke, the chief of Sri Lanka's Army told BBC in an interview that some of the people who carried out the April 21 serial bombings had travelled to Kashmir and Kerala for training. They had gone to Bengaluru, Kashmir and Kerala according to the information available with them. "It would have been for some sort of a training or to establish links with other organisations outside the country," he said when asked whether he was aware of the purpose of their visit.

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