South India and the enemies within

Last Updated: Mon, May 26, 2008 10:23 hrs

Maloy Krishna Dhar started life off as a junior reporter for Amrita Bazaar Patrika in Calcutta and a part-time lecturer. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1964 and was permanently seconded to the Intelligence Bureau.

During his long stint in the Bureau, Dhar saw action in almost all Northeastern states, Sikkim, Punjab and Kashmir. He also handled delicate internal political and several counterintelligence assignments. After retiring in 1996 as joint director, he took to freelance journalism and writing books. Titles credited to him are Open Secrets-India's Intelligence Unveiled, Fulcrum of Evil – ISI, CIA, al-Qaeda Nexus, and Mission to Pakistan. Maloy is considered a top security analyst and a social scientist who tries to portray Indian society through his writings.

Soon after the Mecca Masjid bomb blast (May 2007) and twin blasts in Hyderabad (August 25), several TV and print media friends grilled me: why should there be Jihadist attacks in the South?

Kashmir and parts of North and West India have been in the hairpin of jihadist trigger finger, but the South was a Shanthi Nilayam. Their questions took on a sharper tinge after the reported detection of jihadist training camps in Hubli and Dharwar forests, and the training undergone by some of the jihadists in Pakistan.

The naiveté of the inquirers is pardonable. Knowledge comes with the pains of suffering.

India, and this means entire India- North, South, East and West -- has always been a battleground. Nestled in the peninsula, the southern part of the country could not escape the advances of Islam. Those aeons old Hindu-Muslim battles need not be recounted.

Some believers in perpetual jihad (external) against Dar-ul Harb (a land ruled by infidels that might, through war, become the "Abode of Islam," or Dar-ul-Islam) still exist in India. These minuscule fundamentalists are exploited by the jihadi military regimes in Pakistan and Bangladesh through their tanzeems and intelligence agencies- the ISI and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence.

The Southern Peninsula has been the traditional home of several Islamist groups, who continue to believe in the concept of Dar-ul-Harb.

Decades ago, in 1921, when India was basking in the Hindu-Muslim bonhomie of the Khilafat movement, the Moplas of Kerala indulged in a barbaric communal carnage under the leadership of Mohammad Haji, who had declared the end of British raj and proclaimed himself a Khalifa.

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Annie Besant had commented on that sordid development, They (Moplas) murdered and plundered abundantly, and killed or drove away all Hindus who would not apostatise. Somewhere about a lakh (100,000) of people were driven from their homes with nothing but their clothes they had on, stripped of everything...Malabar has taught us what Islamic rule still means, and we do not want to see another specimen of the Khilafat Raj in India.

(The Future Of Indian Politics: A Contribution To The Understanding Of Present-Day Problems P252. )

Volumes have been written on this sordid chapter which foreshadowed the holocausts in Jinnah’s Direct Action killings in Kolkata and the Noakahli genocide. Larger genocides were committed on the eve of escape of the British from India and the truncated Transfer of Power; now pedalled as independence.

The Southern Peninsula has a been treated as a Dar-ul-Harb or land of war, inhabited by the kafir, just like other parts of India were during the Muslim forays, after British occupation and during the process of Partition on the basis of two religion and two nation theory.

It was much later, on December 8-11, 1989, a debate was initiated in the Second Fiqh Seminar in Delhi for determining the status of India according to the Shariah. Whether India is Dar-ul-harb or not; whether the republic of India, if treated as Dar-ul-kufr, (non-Muslim land) falls in the category of those countries in which properties do not bear the character of protected property (Amwal-e-masoom), these and other related issues came under consideration at the Seminar from various angles.

The Seminar called upon the Islamic Fiqh Academy to set up a committee consisting of Ulama and Jurists, and those well versed in contemporary political science, constitutional law and laws relating to International relations, to decide the status of India. Till now the debate has not been settled. It is presumed India continues to be a Dar-ul-Harb, a country which is an active battleground.

The best interpretation of Dar-ul-Harb can be found in Ghiyasu 'l-Lughat dictionary, Qumas and Fatawa Alamgiri, vol. ii. Pp. 854 etc. We need not enter into a debate here.

While Kashmir and several other parts of India have been under the hairpin triggers of the jihadis from Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Salafi, Wahhabi and Deobandi fanatics, the southern part of the country often broke the veil of stoic placidity with bomb blasts and attacks at regular intervals. Several explosions and attacks were made at Coimbatore (1998), Indian Institute of Science and the RSS office in Tamil Nadu (1993). Starting from February 26, 2001 intermittent blasts have taken place on November 21, 2002; October 28, 2004, November 4, 2004, October 12, 2005, May 7, 2006, May 18, 2007 and August 25, 2007 in Andhra Pradesh.

The Southern Peninsula is described by the Islamic revivalists as a part of Hyderistan; a Muslim land with Hyderabad as nucleus. Maulana Kifayet Ali floated this theory in early thirties in his Silsila-I-Jamait-I-Vahdat Umam Islam. (Quoted by S. A. Latif in The cultural Future of India, Pp 1-18. Inquisitive readers may refer to my book: Fulcrum of Evil-ISI, CIA Al Qaeda Nexus).

Besides the Jamait-e-Islami, Jamait al Salafiya, Tablighi Jammat, Ahl-e-Hadith and SIMI, several regional militant organisations had sprouted in the States of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The prominent militant organisations are:

  • Muslim Defence Force: formed in Saudi Arabia by Abu Hamza of Hyderabad, it has units in Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Intelligence reports link this organisation with Lashkar-e-Toiba and Harkat-ul-Jihad- al Islami.
  • Indian Muslim Mohammedia Mujahideen: Formed by Azam Ghori. The organisation has several units in Andhra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Al Ummah: Formed by S A Basha, is the most active jihadist force is active in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka. It has connectivity with the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence of Bangladesh (DGFI) and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Lashkar-e-Toiba, HuJI, Jaish-e-Mohammad and SIMI.
  • Deendar Anjuman: Formed by Hazrat Maulana Sayed Siddique Kibla. The Andhra based organisation had earned notoriety with the suspected participation of Mohammad Mohiuddin in serial bombings. It has expanded activities in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Government of India banned the Deendar Anjuman in April 2001, after it was linked to the serial blasts at places of worship, including churches, a temple and a mosque, in Andhra, Karnataka and Goa. The Andhra Pradesh government too banned the organisation and sealed its offices at Hyderabad, Vijayawada and other places. About 40 Deendar activists were involved in criminal cases in Andhra Pradesh.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu also boast of several fundamentalist and pro-jihadist organisations, which are engaged in acts of subversive and communal violence. Most important outfits are: Islamic Service Society, National Development Front, Muslim National Development Front, People’s Democratic Party, All India Jihad Committee, and Tamil Muslim Munnetra Kazagham and the outfit floated by Palani Baba. The Manitha Neethi Paasarai (MNP), another militant outfit surfaced after Al Umma was banned for its execution of Coimbatore serial blasts. The MNP is involved in conversion of low-caste Hindus and training them in Jihadist activities. It is active in Theni and Coimbatore districts, which are close to Kerala borders. Its linkages with the NDF of Kerala have been substantiated.

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The Popular Front of India (PFI), a coordinated efforts between three organizations — Karnataka For Dignity (KFD), Karnataka, Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP), Tamil Nadu, and National Development Front (NDF), Kerala was launched on February 16 last year in Bangalore. A majority of the leaders of this new front belong to the banned SIMI. The decision to launch Popular Front of India (PFI) was taken at a conference of KFD, MNP & NDF held on 22nd November 2006 at Calicut. The leaders of PFI include, K.M.Shareef, President of KFD, Gulam Muhammed, leader of MNP and Abdur Rahman Baqari of NDF had decided to confine their activities to South India. The PFI was suspected of involvement in communal violence in Mangalore and several places in Kerala. It is the first umbrella organisation of the SIMI related Wahhabi and Salafi Islamists in Southern India. In the coming years, it might replicate the roles of the Pakistani-brand militarised Deobandism in the peninsular states.

Several dissertations are required to analyse and explain the working mechanism of these pro-jihadist and separatist organisations in the South.

In the north, west and east, the main militant bodies are the SIMI, Ahl-e-Hadith, units of HuJI, and active modules of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Sunni), Jundullah, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Al Badr. Assam and Manipur have over a dozen indigenous militant bodies patronised by the ISI and the DGFI. The Southern Peninsula has always looked towards the north, like they did during initial Muslim invasions, for discovering the footprints of HuJI, Lashkar, SIMI and other Pakistan related outfits. Over three-dozen youths from the south had undergone training in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The respective state intelligence units have not paid adequate attention to the home-grown militant bodies, which have been infiltrated by the ISI and the DGFI (through Bangladeshi infiltrators in the mega cities). They have overlooked ISI infiltration from Sri Lanka and Maldives and from the Middle East, through expatriate workers. Along with dollars and dinars, they bring in ideological baggage and brainwashed Islamism and jihadist ideology.

It is time for the state governments (irrespective of prism or other ism) and intelligence units to evaluate the extant jihadist groups, which aim at establishing ‘liberated’ pockets and link up with the jihadists in Gujarat, Maharashtra and other parts of India beyond the Vindhyas.

This is not an alarmist’s war cry. It is high time for the South to know the enemies within.

The author is a former Joint Director, IB, with vast experience in handling Pakistani and Bangladeshi Jihadi thrust in India. He can be reached at

The views expressed in the article are of the author’s and not that of

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