In the backdrop of the Karnataka Assembly elections, questions are being asked if radicalisation would be a major issue.
It is a known fact that the coast has been in the news for the wrong reasons off late. Be it the murder of Hindu leader, Praveen Nettaru, the hijab row or the violence during the anti-CAA protests.
In July last year, tensions were high following the murder of Nettaru. Violence occurs at the drop of a hat and this has a lot to do with the years and years of radicalisation that has taken place in the coast.
The proximity to Kerala has been another reason, why Islamic radicals have managed to replicate the same model in the coast.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has tightened its noose in this region, which is extremely polarised and dangerous if one may say. Following the actions by the NIA, numerous incidents of deep-radicalisation have cropped up.
Recently, one Mohammad Shariq was on his way to the Kadri Temple in Mangaluru to carry out an explosion. The bomb went off before it could reach the target. The probe into that case showed the extent of radicalisation that had crept in.
Another instance of radicalisation was found when the NIA busted a case relating to a lady from Kodagu, who had converted to Islam. The lady, Deepti Marla who became Maryam following her marriage to a Muslim man went on a radicalising spree the NIA learnt. One Mohammad Ameen was from Kerala was running several channels for the Islamic State.
Material such as a new way of life to be followed, prescribing mandatory hijab and indulging in violent Jihad was put out in a bid to radicalise the youth. The investigations have shown that most of the content was targeted specifically at the Muslims in the coast, other parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and of course Kerala.
Maryam who was arrested from Ullal in Coastal Karnataka had honey-trapped 10 Hindus and converted them to Islam. She then forced them to join the Islamic State.
The Coast has also seen such deep radicalisation because outfits such as the Popular Front of India have managed to keep its operations closely connected between the coast, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
This has paid off for such outfits, an official tells OneIndia. The constant propaganda push and the specific targeting of Hindu leaders has kept the pot on the boil, which has in turn created panic in the minds of the people.
The proximity to Kasargod is another reason why radicalisation has worked in Coastal Karnataka. Kasargod has several radical elements who visit the Coast very often to spread their narrative.
The likes of Rishad Bathuideen, who was arrested in connection with the Sri Lanka Easter bombings had also paid a visit to Kasargod in 2009. His links to the religious fanatic elements are being probed. It was found that Rishad’s father hailed from Padna in Kasargod and he had been in touch with some persons here.
The radicalisation of the coast has been a gradual yet steady process. Issues such as anti-CAA or hijab gain quick traction here and this is largely to do with the fact that these radical element are able to quickly mobilise people. The speed at which the radicals are mobilised is to do with the fact that the extent of radicalisation is exceptionally high.