The explosives found in the forest area at Padam near Pathan in June 2021, shocked security agencies. Further investigations revealed involvement of PFI, SDPI in clandestine activities in the area. From then on it became the cynosure in the eyes of all.
In June last year, The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Kerala Police launched a probe into the recovery of explosive materials from a plantation in Pathanapuram taluk in Kollam. Forest officials found gelatin sticks, detonators and electric wires while inspecting a cashew plantation owned by the forest department. Meanwhile, 96 gelatin sticks were found at Vayakkara, 20km away from Pathanapuram, in the Naduvathumoozhy range of Konni forest division in Pathanamthitta
Intelligence report regarding Popular Front of India’s (PFI) alleged activities in Padam forest of Kerala, further probe throws more lights to show the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) of using the same ground for their training activities as uniforms, hats, and tracksuits barring the SDPI logo were found from the forest area. The investigative team unearthed these from deep inside the Padam forest which is the same area from where PFI’s training was uncovered.
According to intelligence sources, they found that 150 acres of land allegedly encroached while Shah Memorial ground of Padam forest being allegedly used for martial arts training. They also suspected that the hands of SDPI activist MK Jamal. The Padam forest was allegedly being used by the PFI cadres to impart training on weapons and bomb-making. As per the report by Kerala ATS, the Padam forest area was not only being used as a training ground but was earlier used for the recent Unity March of PFI. “ Radical extremist group PFI was allegedly operating some clandestine training camps in Pathanapuram and the explosives were part of the logistics of the camp” they said. Kerala state forest department had conducted a raid in the Kollam district on June 14,2021 that led to the recovery of two gelatin sticks, four detonators, batteries, some wires and adhesive substances the next day.
Afterwards the very mention of Padam, people would remember only the PFI. The startling revelations disproved its claims that PFI is a social service movement and raised several questions about is functioning. In last February, two days before its Unity March, officials found more than 4000 lathis, (a heavy pole or stick, club or danda). In 2013, Naarath in Kerala, officials found a large number of lathis explosives, jihadi pamphlets from a PFI training. There were training camps in Ramanathapuram and areas of Tamil Nadu. Following intelligence report, NIA took the probe which found the PFI had been using the secured area for anti-national activities. One of the IB officer, who visited the areas first time while going to Sabrimala, shocked to find the presence of PFI. He, who was part of Naarath case, said the PFI hit squad used the dense forest area to hide its dismantled vehicle parts. Petrol tank, engine components, headlights and damaged bike parts were proof enough to that. Officials also found carcasses of more than 16 sambar deer and officials suspect that the hit squad members could have killed them as part of their training. Police also have found blood stains of slayed BJP cadre Rahul who disappeared mysteriously. The finds showed the PFI link in the murder case. It is a million dollar question why Ashik chose Padam forest area? Indeed, it has become a safer place for them. The PFI men threatened forest officials with dire consequences if they poke their nose and started monitoring their movement with its cadres. The monitoring team members were assured of land documents with holding rights as reward for their loyalty.
Security Officials blame the Kerala government which has failed to recruit fire service personnel in 2021 which is a big blunder. The SDPI, which is the political wing of PFI, contested 2020 Karnataka local body polls and TN assembly and local body election. It also fielded candidates Kerala, Bihar assembly elections.
Explosives, dismantled, discarded bike parts, SDPI flags, indiscriminating literature material have shocked security agencies. What was need for political wing SDPI’s presence in forest areas where arms training and anti-national activities were taking place? A thorough probe will shed more lights on its role.
Union Home Ministry has not specifically named SDPI as an unlawful association. However, any SDPI member who acts on behalf of PFI or indulges in subversive and anti-national activities of spreading communal hatred, raises funds by dubious means or tries to radicalize others, will be acted against under relevant law including UAPA. MHA ban notification leave scope for possible action against potential unlawful activities by SDPI leader and cadres. Election Commission can also take action against SDPI, a registered, unrecognized political party, based on inputs from home ministry and on the ban notification.
We should remember the words of former CIA official John Wilkinson.in an interview he said despite clear indications before September 9, 2011 attacks, US ignored to act. Taking a lesson from that India should avoid such incidents by taking necessary steps to protect not only Kerala, Tamil Nadu and entire Bharat. This is a time to root out such elements from our soil with iron hand.