Kerala steps up vigil at tourist places


Thiruvananthapuram : With the arrest of a suspected Hizbul Mujahideen activist from Kumily in Idukki district a day back, Kerala Sunday stepped vigil across tourist centres in the state.

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Altaf Ahamad Khan, arrested Saturday, had terrorist links, said state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

The information gathered by the Kerala police from Jammu and Kashmir authorities has revealed Khan, 30, was a member of the Pakistan-based Kashmiri terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, Balakrishnan told reporters here.

Khan was working at a shop in the tourist town of Kumily for the past five years and has travelled many times to Kashmir during this period.

The police have also recovered a photo identity card from the arrested terrorist bearing his name as Mohammed Ahmed Butt.

In view of the arrest, the police have been asked to step up the vigil across the state.

“We have also asked the police to keep an extra vigil at tourism centres. We have asked officers to see that the privacy of the tourists is not disturbed,” added the minister.

The police and intelligence agencies have been put on high alert and have been asked to regularly interact with their counterparts in other states to see that Kerala does not become a safe heaven for such people, the minister said.

He said that it has come to light that currently about one million non-Keralites are working in the state in various sectors.

“We have now begun steps to see that all such people (outsiders) are identified. We have asked labour department to see that proper identification is done with the help of contractors who employ them.

“But with a large number working in unorganised sector, we have asked the police to identify them with the help of locals,” said Balakrishnan.

The arrest comes after the police took into custody late December last year a suspected Maoist who was in hiding in the state for the past three decades.