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Kerala: Naxals behind botched bid to crash train?

By Arun Lakshman
July 08, 2010 17:37 IST
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The police in Kerala and the Anti-Terrorism Squad have started massive combing operations into the brake pipe cutting incident of the Nilambur-Shoranur passenger train, which was discovered before the train was to leave Nilambur station at 5.30 am on Thursday.

Highly placed sources in the state police told that there are possibilities of a Maoist involvement. Maoist groups throughout the country are on a desperate look out to avenge the encounter of top Maoist leader and party politburo member Azad alias Rajkumar in the forests of Andhra Pradesh a few days back.

However, Malappuram Superintendent of Police K Sethuraman told mediapersons that the police are yet to reach a conclusion on the antecedents of the culprits.

There have been recent intelligence inputs on the Maoists gaining strength in Kerala, with special emphasis on the forested areas of the state adjoining Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Nilambur shares a forest strip with Tamil Nadu border, and sources in the central intelligence agencies told that the possibilities of Maoist involvement could not be ruled out.

It may be recalled that had earlier reported that the Maoists gaining strength in Kerala with Palakkad as its epicentre and having links with the Islamist fundamentalist outfit Students Islamic Movement of India.

Sources in the agencies also told that there are possibilities of an Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam angle to the sabotage attempt as there has been reports from the intelligence agencies on the rebel group regrouping with Kerala as an entry and exit point.

An LTTE activist, Siva, was apprehended by the intelligence agencies in Kollam district for facilitating the escape of some suspected Tamil nationals into Australia using the sea route.

The police have already started investigation into the Maoist angle in the attempted sabotage, and some senior leaders of the former Naxalite movements in and around Palakkad and Malappuram districts have already been taken into custody.

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Arun Lakshman in Thiruvananthapuram