- People in the country are aware that the Southern part of India is generally peaceful establishing the fact that the law-and-order situation is under control. Save for some minor incidents being reported sporadically, the peaceful existence in the region should keep the administrators satisfied with maintaining law and order. However, it cannot be fully subscribed to the viewpoint that there are no incidents reported in Southern India that will merit the attention of the central law enforcement agencies to pitch tents. Of course, there are routine raids undertaken by the Central Bureau of Intelligence, Enforcement Directorate, and the Income Tax officials on erring individuals but these are not connected with anything denoting serious offenses. That’s another matter altogether, you see.
- Yes, the Southern region has witnessed some of the most emotional and sensitive ethnic matters and also faced fundamentalist and jihadist elements fomenting trouble now and then. The states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been at the receiving end of this matter. Unfortunately, recent explosions at a Jehovah’s Witnesses convention in Kerala’s Kalamassery are one such incident. This has disturbed the peace and tranquility of the state much to the chagrin of the state and central machineries. This incident will pose a serious test for state and central law enforcement agencies. As per newspaper reports, at least two persons have died, and several were in critical condition.
- Admirably, Kerala Police was quick to respond, identified an IED as the source of explosions, and formed several probe teams. Further, one person has reportedly surrendered claiming responsibility for the blasts – he too is a Jehovah’s Witness. NIA and NSG teams have been rushed to Kerala and more help from the Centre will follow. There are two potential threats from the incident. First, Kerala has a history of violence between many groups, with religion and politics often in a dangerous mix. Add to this the growth of new Christian denominations that are politically trying to assert themselves.
- There has also been growing radicalization among a section of Kerala’s Muslims. First, because of the influence of the state’s significant diaspora in West Asia, and second, because of what some observers say is a countermobilization to right-wing Hindu politics at home. Politics, as expected, is both responding to this and shaping it. Much of Kerala’s minorities, 27% Muslims and 18% Christians have increasingly warmed to the CPM-led LDF. Congress as well as traditional parties like the Indian Union Muslim League have lost out to the more aggressive politics of SDPI and the now-banned Popular Front of India. In such politics, the probability of exploiting a tragedy is very high. The other threat is to India’s overall security.
- The blasts led to a torrent of posts on social media, linking them to the Israel-Hamas conflict. While Kerala Police has warned of strict action against fake information, there is a possibility of the West Asia conflict indirectly affecting India. Needless to mention, the Kalamassery explosions must be professionally probed, state and central agencies must work together, and the guilty must be identified quickly to contain any negative fallouts.