KOCHI: Enforcement agencies have put Munnar under tight surveillance after intercepts of a few WhatsApp messages revealed that certain Tamil Nadu-based terror groups have been coordinating operations and activities in this state’s prominent tourist destination.
As per intelligence agencies, the messages intercepted from two WhatsApp groups – “Kammamme Ullakkam” and “Kiltan Boys” – reveal that some users in the groups have been calling youth for jihad and spreading hate messages to incite communal violence. A probe by the police on the users of the groups found a majority of them were from Tamil Nadu and the new members of the group were hotel staff working in various resorts and restaurants in Munnar.
“Some of the members in these groups with admin rights are from Tiruchirappalli and have links in Malaysia. They lured more youth into the groups by circulating porn clips and later started to use the groups to circulate the jihadi messages,” the officers said.
Kochi Range IG Vijay Sakhare said the police had strengthened surveillance in Munnar and are tracking the activities of the suspects. “We are aware of the development and are monitoring,” he said.
The Kerala Police have been wary of the rise in activity of a little-known terror group, Base Movement, in Kerala which extended its operations to Kerala from Tamil Nadu. “Munnar is a soft spot for their activities because of the tourist inflow and it’s easy to camouflage. We have collected the details of the admins of both the groups,” said an Idukki-based police officer.
As per the investigation by National Investigation Agency, Base Movement is associated with the Tamil Nadu-based extremist group, Al-Umma, which during its prime days had strong networks in Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli. “It is suspected the messages in the WhatsApp groups were more about protesting against certain issues in Kashmir and other parts of the country,” the officers added.
Already, Base Movement has triggered five blasts in south India which include a minor explosion at the Malappuram court premises on November 1, 2016, and at the Kollam court complex on June 15, 2016.