The raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday at the residence of a youth was following clear tips from the central agencies regarding certain Islamic forces trying to develop sleeper cells and terror modules in the state.

The central investigating agency had raided the premises of the youth following information that he along with a few others were involved in raising money and to brainwash Muslim youth and recruit them into terror organisations.

This has sent shockwaves across the Home department of Tamil Nadu which had swiftly ordered the elite 'Q' branch squad to conduct a detailed probe about the youth, his accomplices, family, friends and relatives.

The central intelligence agencies had tipped off the Tamil Nadu Home department on the possibilities of certain former activists of the banned Islamist organisation, Popular Front of India (PFI), were regrouping themselves and working clandestinely in certain pockets of Tamil Nadu that include Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Madurai and some areas of Tirunelveli district.

It is to be noted that Tamil Nadu has a previous history of Islamist organisations attacking at random with the serial bomb blast of February 14, 1998, set off by a series of bombs in Coimbatore creating maximum mayhem and deaths.

The blast was intended at the then Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani but he escaped unhurt as his flight got delayed while 58 people lost their lives and more than 200 were grievously injured.

Interestingly, the Prisons department of Tamil Nadu which comes under Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has sent a list of 46 prisoners who were to be given freedom on the birthday of the founder leader of Dravidian movement and late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, C.N. Annadurai on September 15.

The list surprisingly includes S.A. Basha, the founder of the Islamist terror organisation, Al-Umma, and the mastermind of the Coimbatore bomb blasts.

On October 23, 2022, a 29-year-old youth, Jameesha Mubin, was charred to death when the car which he was driving exploded near Kottai Eswaran temple in Ukkadam area of Coimbatore. 

Investigation revealed that Mubin was part of a major conspiracy to create mayhem and maximum deaths as Diwali was observed on October 24, 2022, and a majority of people were out in the market which was near the Sangameswaran temple.

However, inexperience in handling the bombs would have led to the bomb being detonated earlier before the target, thus saving the lives of hundreds of people.

The NIA took over the investigation and arrested 20 people and one of the arrested was Mohammed Talka, who incidentally is the nephew of the Coimbatore serial bomb blast convict and founder of Al-Umma who is being considered for release on the birth anniversary of Annadurai.

Top sources in central intelligence agencies told IANS that certain Islamist organisations are trying to create terror modules in the state and the release of a professional terrorist like S.A. Basha who orchestrated and executed the Coimbatore serial blast will give wings to those who are trying to turn Tamil Nadu into a terror haven.

After the ban of the PFI by the Central government in September 2022, there has been relative peace in the state and there was a dip in communal clashes and politically motivated killings. However, the release of the founder leader of Al-Umma from the prison would lead to the extreme elements wedded to terror ideology give proper guidance and network.

These terror operatives are now functioning under the names of Tehreek-e-Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the Indian sub-continent and the NIA raid in Rameswaram on Friday (September 1, 2023) was at the premises of a youth who was involved in generating funds for this terror network.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu Police also told IANS that a terrorist with a larger-than-life profile like S.A. Basha coming out of prison would help all the dormant terror modules active in the state and could lead to a major attack on some temples or even assassination of senior political leaders.

It may also be taken into account that the same S.A. Basha was involved in the blast at the RSS headquarters of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on August 8, 1993, in which 11 RSS workers were killed and seven were injured.

A senior officer, who had worked for several years in a central agency while speaking to IANS, said, "We have given proper tips to the state Home department and they have to act. There are sleeper cells in Tamil Nadu and many are active in gathering money and conducting training classes in a clandestine manner under the guise of gyms and martial arts training centres. The state police have begun a probe in the coastal town of Ramanathapuram after the raids by the NIA at these spots."