The incident of the Islamists taking the law into their own hands to free their relatives that occurred almost a week ago recently came to light and highlighted the complexities faced by law enforcement agencies in dealing with such audacious actions.
The detained individual, Abdul Khadar (45), was taken into custody on December 11 after Constable Vadivel acted on information about the sale of prohibited lottery tickets in the Sugunapuram area. Abdul Khadar’s son, Mujib Rahman (24), along with his paternal uncle’s son Salmon (23) and relative Sahabudeen, confronted Constable Vadivel at the police station, demanding the immediate release of Abdul Khadar. The situation escalated into a verbal altercation, culminating in Mujib Rahman physically assaulting Constable Vadivel.
In the ensuing melee, officers Nallathambi and Vijayakumar attempted to intervene, only to be attacked by the trio of Muslims. The assailants also seized and destroyed the officers’ walkie-talkie. Exploiting the chaos, they successfully freed Abdul Khadar from police custody and fled the scene.
Constable Vadivel promptly reported the incident to his superiors, detailing the assault and the abduction of the accused. Subsequent police efforts led to the discovery of the assailants’ hiding place, resulting in the arrest of Abdul Khadar, Mujib Rahman, Salmon, and Sahabudeen. They now face charges, including preventing government officials from performing their duties, damaging public property, and issuing death threats, among other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
This incident is not an isolated occurrence, as similar incidents involving confrontations between law enforcement and members of the Muslim community have been reported in the region. In August of this year, Abdul Kareem was arrested for attacking Greater Chennai Corporation employees during the removal of encroachments from his textile shop. Additionally, a few years prior, a group of Muslims laid siege to a police station in Chennai, demanding the release of a shop owner in Ritchi Street.
Concerns have been raised regarding the perceived leniency towards certain communities in the state. Observers point out that Muslims are often not penalised for traffic violations, and cases related to civil and criminal matters involving the community are reportedly infrequent. In prison, Muslim inmates are said to enjoy privileges, including the option to receive preferred food from home or hotels, access to mobile phones, and the ability to communicate with outsiders.
These incidents fuel broader discussions about law enforcement impartiality and the need for stringent measures to maintain public order. Critics argue that such incidents undermine the authority of law enforcement agencies and call for a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to these confrontations.
In a concerning development, BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan has called for a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe following revelations of an inmate at Coimbatore Central Prison drawing an ISIS flag and threatening the jail warden with dire consequences.
Srinivasan, expressing alarm over the situation, cited the city’s history of facing riots and bomb blasts for the past 25 years, emphasizing the need for a thorough investigation into potential extremist activities. She highlighted the case of Asif Mustaheen, an alleged ISIS sympathizer currently in Coimbatore Central Prison, who reportedly informed authorities of his intent to work for ISIS upon release and threatened to harm prison officials.
The BJP MLA underscored the gravity of the situation by referencing historical incidents, including the 1998 serial bomb blasts and a car bomb blast last year. Srinivasan pointed out that at a time when Coimbatore was gradually returning to normalcy, the recent seizure of a truck carrying approximately 2,953 kg of explosives in Salem on December 1 raised concerns about the city becoming a potential target for extremists.
She expressed the urgency of preventing another extremist attack in the industrial city of Coimbatore and called for a comprehensive investigation into the inmate’s threats. Srinivasan also questioned the broader context, highlighting the recent resolution passed by the state assembly seeking the premature release of 33 Muslim prisoners, including those convicted in the Coimbatore serial bomb blast cases. The Governor’s refusal to approve the resolution, coupled with advice for Muslim prisoners to file bail applications on medical grounds, has added to the complexity of the situation.
As the demand for an NIA probe gains momentum, concerns about the potential ramifications of extremist activities in the region continue to grow, prompting heightened scrutiny and calls for decisive action by law enforcement agencies.