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Terrorists make use of tourist boom in Kerala: Minister
Rediff News Bureau | January 07, 2008 09:09 IST
Last Updated: January 07, 2008 09:23 IST
Inquiries have indicated that the suspected Hizbul Mujahideen activist arrested from Kumali in Kerala's [Images] Idukki district had terrorist links, State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said.
The information gathered by the state police from Jammu and Kashmir [Images] authorities showed that Altaf Ahamad Khan, arrested on Sunday, was wanted in connection with several cases relating to terrorist activities, Balakrishnan said.
The minister was also quoted as saying by a Malayalam newspaper that Kerala had become a "tourist spot for terrorists to stay peacefully for a while".
"Kerala has become a resting place for terrorist as the state is blessed with good climatic conditions. There are beautiful places for sightseeing as well. So we have to be alert," the minister said.
Altaf had been staying in the tourist town for about five years and was suspected to have made trips to Jammu and Kashmir during this period. The police also recovered an identity card in which his name was written as Muhammad Ahammad Butt.
In view of the development, the police has been asked to step up vigil across the state with special focus on tourist centres and work sites that engage migrant labourers in large numbers, he said.
He said there had been intelligence reports that terrorists were making Kerala as a hiding place, making use of the tourism boom in the state. A top People's War Group(PWG) leader was also arrested from Ernakulam district recently.
To tackle the menace, the intelligence wing of the state police has stepped up interaction and sharing of information with its counterparts in other states.
Altaf had been running a handicraft shop at Kumali near the famed hill resort of Thekkadi.
The police had been probing the whereabouts of Altaf after they came across "some details" as part of a passport verfification recently. The investigators then contacted their Jammu and Kashmir counterparts and it was found that Altaf was allegedly involved in several terrorism-linked cases.
Meanwhile, the police searched the handicraft shops run by people from Jammu and Kashmir at Kumali.
According to police sources, Altaf was expected to be produced in a local court in Idukki.
With PTI inputs