Discourse on Conversion: Deadly Nexus
The outbursts against Sangh Parivar got vicious with the recent reconversion of about 30 members from eight Christian families near Alappuzha. They reportedly embraced Hinduism at a temple. A day later in Kollam, five more people reportedly became Hindu. These incidents irked some to the extent that Kerala Home Minister and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala ordered a probe into the “homecoming” incident. Additional Director General of Police A. Hemachandran has beenasked to probe the matter.
Interestingly, these secular parties are conspicuously silent on the spate of conversions from the majority community. On June 25, 2012 Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had informed the state legislature that “2667 young women were converted to Islam in the state since 2006.” Similarly, a news appeared in a local Malayalam newspaper on January 25, 2012 shocked people. Quoting an intelligence report the news said between 2006 and 2010 there were over 6000 cases of religious conversion into Islam reported from Malappuram District with absolutely no instances of reconversion. The report also stated that out of the 6000 converted to Islam, 5750 were Hindus.
An intelligence report on religious conversion from Defense Security IG, S Anantha Krishnan, which was submitted to state Police Headquarters quoted that in the year 2006 the number of religious conversions took place were 1250. In 2007, there were 1458 conversions. In 2008 about 1439 were converted to Islam. In 2009, over 1134 were converted and in 2010 about 790 were converted to Islam.
The intelligence agencies regularly compile reports on religious conversions and their consequences and submit to state administration. A copy of the same report is also forwarded to Central government. But both the state and the Centre chose to ignore all such reports for obvious considerations.
17 April 1953:
According to census reports, the Hindus population has been constantly dwindling in the state, thanks to religious conversion. In 1961, Hindus constituted 62% of the total population and have now decreased to 55%. On the contrary, the Muslims population which was 17% in 1961 has now increased to 27% according to latest enumeration. The Christian population has also gone up from 19 per cent to 21 per cent from 1961-2011.
According to a report on demographic change in Kerala during the past 50 years the Muslim population registered a much faster growth. While the Hindu population has recorded a steady decline of about 1.2 per cent a decade for the past 60 years, the Muslim population has been growing by 10-12 per cent. To augment the population growth further, a study says “there is a plan to convert at least 5% of the backward and Scheduled Caste Hindus to Islam in the next decade so that the population will go up from 27 to 32 per cent and the Muslims will be able to prove their strength in Kerala.”
“There is a secret plan underway to instigate the Muslim community into separatist tendencies and this is also being achieved through the sizeable presence of Muslim migrant workers from other states. These migrant workers, number around 14 lakh, and their number is enough to decide 14 MLAs in the Kerala assembly. More than half of these workers are Bengalis and majority of these are Bangladeshis Muslims who have illegally migrated to India.” Many workers from Bangladesh have been arrested in counterfeit currency cases. But Kerala police has failed to extract information about them.
The studies by noted demographers such as P.N. Mari Bhatt and A. Francis Xavier and also by others show that India's Muslim population will keep increasing by one per cent every decade the Muslim population in India will be 17.3 per cent by 2050. For the sub-continent as a whole comprising India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the proportion of Muslims is projected to increase from 30 per cent as of now to 50 per cent around 2060.
A leading English daily on July 30, 2010 reported V.S. Achuthanandan, the then Chief Minister of Kerala, expressing fear that the Popular Front of India (PFI), a radical Islamic outfit working to installing Islamic state in India, was hatching a plot aimed at total Islamisation of Kerala. “To make India and Kerala Muslim-dominated in 20 years youngsters are being given money and lured to convert to Islam, marry Muslim women and then give birth to Muslim children so that they can multiply,” the report said.
In the entire Malabar region, comprising of Kasargod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad, the non-Islamic, non-Christian section of the population dropped from 65.3 per cent of the total in 1951 to a near minority level of 52.7 per cent in 2001. In the same period, the Muslim share in the region went up from 31.4 per cent to 41.1 per cent and the Christian share also rose significantly from 3.3 per cent to 6.2 per cent.
Reports also suggest that two leading political formations—the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and CPIM-led Left Democratic front (LDF)—have helped the Islamic radicals to establish a firm base within the state. Over the past two decades radical outfits like outlawed SIMI, PDP, NDF, PFI and SDPI have made safe dens in the state. Both the UDF and LDF had also unanimously passed a resolution in state assembly urging Karnataka government to release Abdul Nasser Madani, arrested and lodged in a Bangalore jail for master minding multiple bomb blasts in the state. Leaders from both the political formation had also visited Madani in jail. Kerala CM Oommen Chandy too called on him in Bangalore in July angering investigators and the prosecution team in Karnataka. In Lok Sabha elections of 2009, the CPI-M had supported Madani's candidature in northern Ponnani constituency under Malappuram district.
In fact, Kerala has always been a safe sanctuary for Islamic radicals of all hues. The Indian Mujahedeen (IM) commander Zia-Ur-Rehman alias Waqas, a Pak national who was arrested from Jaipur in March this year, had confessed about his “live” connections in Kerala. An expert in making electrical circuits for improvised explosive devices, Pakistani national Waqas had an active role in the Jama Masjid shootout (September, 2010), Varanasi bomb blast (December, 2010), Mumbai serial blasts (July, 2011), Pune blasts (August, 2012) and Hyderabad twin blasts in February last year. Waqas has also revealed to the investigators the details of his visit to Kerala and stay in the hill town of Munnar, a busy tourist station. Waqas had told the interrogators that he and his associate Tehsin Akthar, (the two are Indian Mujahideen’s most dangerous terrorists) decided to shift base to Kerala from Bihar, after the high-profile arrest of their boss Yasin Bhatkal in August 2013. Waqas also said the IM enjoyed some degree of political patronage in Kerala.
Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Abdul Karim Tunda, arrested early this year after a 27 year hunt, reportedly told the interrogators that there are roughly around 130 operatives of the outfit in India and at least 80 of them are based in parts of Kerala. Tunda also reportedly revealed that “none of the trained operative works under the Lashkar’s banner. Instead, they function under the garb of small-time political outfits.”
Of late there are intelligence inputs on the increasing support for ISIS in Kerala. The Union Home Ministry sent a report warning the state administration that Kerala was turning into a recruiting hub for ISIS.
According to media reports a poster supporting the terror outfit appeared near the Thampanoor police station in the state capital in the month of October. The police immediately removed the poster and an investigation was ordered in the issue. The poster reportedly carried a message justifying the terror group's activities in Iraq and Syria.
Even after repeated threats from the Maoist militants the state administration is still to act. There were almost two dozen incidents reported by the media and the intelligence agencies confirming the increasing presence of Maoist militants in the state.
Suresh Kumar (The writer is Bureau Chief of Hindusthan Samachar, Kerala)