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Alarming rise of Muslim fanaticism in TN - The Pioneer

T N Gopalan ()
31 August 1997

Title: Alarming rise of Muslim fanaticism in TN
Author: T N Gopalan
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: August 31, 1997

Four Ghastly murders of Hindu Munnani activists in Tirunelveli and killing
of a supposedly liberal ulema in the State capital have sent shock waves
among the Tamil Nadu police.

It is premature to say whether a well-knit ISI-funded terrorist network is
behind the murders, a State police official said.

However, senior officials concede that the rising tensions elsewhere in the
country. compounded with alarming rate of unemployment among the youth.
have seen fanatical groups getting more active in the State.

"Certainly, there is a rise in the number of fanatical groupings among the
Muslims and that is a matter of serious concern," said a police official.

Melapalayam, a suburb of Tirunelveli down south, with a strong Muslim
concentration, has of late witnessed rise in such groups. Only last
fortnight a Hindu Munnani activist and two of its patrons including a
medical doctor were brutally slayed in a day-light operation by a group of
masked youth, who reportedly shouted Allah-o-Akbar as they fled.

The culprits have not been traced as yet.

On Wednesday a driver employed with a private firm and his brother were
attacked by unidentified elements. The driver succumbed to the knife
injuries while his brother was hospitalised with severe injuries.

That the victims were Hindus (though their sympathies for Hindu Munnani is
not very clear) was reason enough to shock the residents of the town.

They came out on streets demanding action against the extremists without
any delay. Buses were damaged and a bidi firm was set fire to by the irate

Thankfully, there were no communal clashes and administration managed to
defuse the crisis within hours of the incident.

And last week a liberal ulema in the city who apparently preached against
intolerance was hacked to death. Though no one has taken responsibility for
the murder, police blame a particular fundamentalist group, charged with
ISI links, for the murder.

When the police unearthed a massive haul of explosives a few months ago,
enough to recreate Mumbai-type horror stories, this very organisation was
suspected to have been behind such operations. However no arrest could be
effected apart from those apprehended on the spot.

Again it was this group which was blamed for the bombing of some city
hotels owned by Muslims but which conducted floor-shows, considered

Early this year, Coimbatore was rocked by communal disturbances for a few
weeks which was blamed on this organisation.

Now another little-known group has threatened to hold counter
demonstrations in the city if the Ganesh Chathurthi rally organised by the
Hindu Munnani was allowed to pass through Muslim localities.

While the Hindu Munnani is no force in the State, it has enough clout to
kick up a lot of dust during the Ganesh Chathurthi. On two occasions there
had been bloodshed and firing.

While the Jayalalitha Government used to go soft on this front, the DMK
regime headed by Mr M Karunanidhi saw to it that the rally route steered
clear of the sensitive spots.

This year too, Mr Rama Gopalan, the Munnani chief, has said that the rally
would stick to its traditional route but the Government is yet to react.

"We are aware of all the perils ahead. We are taking necessary efforts to
forestall any large-scale clashes," said Mr K K Rajasekharan Nair, Director
General of Police.

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