The intensity and the articulate planning of Mumbai serial blasts, which claimed 18 lives on Wednesday night, indicates the involvement of the Indian Mujahideen.
Intelligence Bureau reports suggest that the IM, which was formed in Uttar Pradesh a few years ago, has regrouped in south India.
South states have long been considered as the preferred locations for terrorists to set up their hubs. Kerala is considered to be particularly sensitive due to its likely role as a feeder state. But the only major operation carried out by terror operatives from Kerala were the Bengaluru blasts in 2008.
Experts believe that Kerala will remain a feeder state in terms of providing funds and it will also serve as a hide-out for terrorists. The IM has often used Kerala over the last couple of years to kick-start their operations.
According to police officials who have studied Kerala's inadvertent role as a terror hub, a number of members of the IM, the Students Islamic Movement of India, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba can be found here. The terror modules operating in Kerala are in charge of overseeing the recruitment process and channelising funds.
According to sources in IB, modules in Kerala are always on standby and prepared for major operations. They say that there are several self-motivated modules in the state which can carry out terror attacks. Major outfits like the IM and the SIMI are aware of this and they have never tried to set up their own modules.
IM operatives in Gulf nations use Kerala as a transit point to cross over and to send funds.
An operation like the Mumbai serial blasts, say Intelligence Bureau officials, would have cost anything between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh, which is not difficult to raise.
The interrogation of T Nasir, a terrorist arrested earlier, revealed the presence of smaller but dangerous modules in Kerala.
He was in charge of such a small terror module and had managed to collect funds from a sympathiser in the Gulf. Nasir, an accused in the Bengaluru blasts, told interrogators that he needed just Rs 45,000 to carry out the blasts. He had sought the support of People's Democratic Party leader Abdul Nasar Madani to carry out the blasts and was upset when the latter tried to milk it for political gains.
Nasir had told interrogators that Madani had backed out of the operation at the last moment.
Fringe elements from major terror groups constantly look for support and financial help from smaller terror modules in Kerala. Given its status as a favourite hide-out of terrorists, Kerala is fast emerging as a deadly haven for terrorists.