THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Intelligence and security agencies have carried out checking on 28 people, mostly youth who were thought to have ties with extremist groups or elements — especially those hinging on to the Salafi school of thought — and found four people had connections. However, the four, including Palakkad native Riyas Aboobacker, did not play any role in the Sri Lankan serial blasts, in the aftermath of which the agencies decided to act.
The remaining 24 people were let off. Sources said Riyas and the three other suspects — two from Kasargod and one from Kollam — were in touch. The background checks of the 28, who have been on the agencies’ radar, were conducted thoroughly.
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“They had been kept under watch for quite some time. Post the Lankan blasts, their activities were monitored to check whether they had any knowledge about the blasts or played any role in them. They were found to have no involvement or knowledge.
Four, however, had extremist connections,” a source said. Of the 24, some harboured extreme puritan thoughts, the agencies observed. “Some of them were regularly feeding themselves on violent and extremist speeches of radical ulemas,” said another source. Officers said the probe so far has disapproved doubts there was a direct Kerala link in the Lankan blasts.
Sri Lankan Army chief Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake had recently told BBC that the Lankan terrorists involved in the carnage had earlier visited Kerala. Indian agencies maintained they were yet to come across any proof to substantiate this allegation. “But we’re still checking whether such a thing indeed happened,” sources said. Meanwhile, an NIA team is still staying back in Colombo to garner more information about the terror cells that conducted the blasts.
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