The Lede tracks down the family of one of six suspected LeT members in Kerala & finds they live in severe poverty
High alert was issued in Coimbatore late on Thursday following an intelligence input that six LeT (Lashkar-e-Tayyaba) terrorists had intruded into Tamil Nadu and had settled in Coimbatore. The six-member group of the LeT is said to have intruded into Tamil Nadu via Sri Lanka.
Coimbatore Commissioner of Police Sumit Saran held a press conference in which he said - “We have received reports that six people have entered the country and have reached Coimbatore.
“Following this, we have begun searches for them in malls, temples and public places. We have also set up check posts and are conducting searches of vehicles. Security has been tightened in Coimbatore.
10 Rapid Action Force teams have been deployed in important places for security purposes. If necessary, we will increase surveillance in those areas. 2000 police personnel have been deployed for security. There is no need for the public to worry,” said the Police Commissioner.
Of the six men, one is suspected to be a Pakistan national and the others from Sri Lanka. One Illyas Anwar is said to be a suspected Pakistani national and Abdul Kader Rahim Kolliyil is one of the other persons named amongst the six.
The Lede visited the address in Thrissur, Kerala, which, according to the Tamil Nadu police is that of the Rahim Kolliyil.
The family, living in dire straits, was clueless about the sudden interest in their youngest son. The last they heard from him was three days ago when they spoke with him over phone. He was well and fine in Dubai he had told them. He had also told them that he would be coming home in a few days.
Though the Kerala police were muted in their enquiries, the sudden presence of three police vehicles parked by the road generated curiosity in the neighborhood most of whom had not known Rahim well.
The ageing father, mother and the two sons of Rahim were all left in the dark about the intent of the questions they were asked. The police refused to talk to The Lede or give a statement after the enquiry.
Having been in Bahrain for close to 18 years, Rahim, said to be an introvert, is not well known in his village, even though his father and elder brother, a mini-truck driver are well recognised.
“He didn’t even have any friends,” said a family member.
The Lede is not divulging the names of Rahim’s family in deference to their safety.
Rahim had two brothers and two sisters. One of the brothers is no more. “They are three brothers, we know the other two, they drive quarry trucks here, this fellow nobody knows,” said an auto driver in the nearby stand.
Now aged 38, Rahim had dropped out of school in his ninth grade, according to his surviving brother, and started working as an electro-mechanic in a workshop nearby.
After this, he headed to Bahrain in search of a job.
Rahim began to face financial troubles when he attempted to buy an automobile workshop in Bahrain. His father eventually tried to bail him out by mortgaging their modest mud-tiled house.
Surrounded by a water logged swamp on three sides, the house, without proper flooring, showed no sign of the Gulf money that is the norm in those who have worked there.
“Had he (Rahim) been any good, they wouldn’t have been living like this,” said a relative.
Rahim, the family claims, was swindled easily by others and the workshop too was transferred to his partners’ name. The family lost all their money and are saddled with a debt they still have to repay and have no means to. Rahim’s father runs a small shop buying and selling agricultural produce from the locals.
Rahim was apparently depressed with the continual financial trouble and had even tried taking his life twice earlier, according to his father.
“Even when home, he never went out nor interacted with locals. He just stood leaning on the wall here staring outside,” said a family member. Rahim was not religiously inclined nor showed any special interest in spiritual matters, his family claims.
After returning to Kerala a year ago, Rahim had tried starting a workshop by taking a flood-affected workshop on rent in Deshom, Aluva at less than half the rent, but that too failed to take off.
“He never even brought a chocolate for his children saying he didn’t have money,” his family says.
This eventually saw Rahim go to Dubai on a visitors’ visa. He last contacted his family from there three days ago.
When finally told about why the police was conducting their enquiries, Rahim’s father was shell shocked and slumped back on his chair. “He will do no wrong,” his parents said.
“His father was already deep in debt because of him,” said one acquaintance. “Now this on top of that. Let this not be true,” he said.
The family recognised the photograph on the passport as given out by the Tamil Nadu police as that belonging to Rahim but were perplexed about everything else. “He is not a Pakistani national,” said a family member when told about what was being said of him.
His wife, who according to the family is well educated, is presently working in the pharmacy of one of the hospitals in Kodungalloor and was away at work.