NEW DELHI: Indian and Sri Lankan security apparatus are probing links between Pak-based terror groups and Lankan extremist groups and role of state actor as suspicion grows about the motive of Sunday’s serial blasts.
Sunday’s terror attacks in neighbouring Sri Lanka could be signal about the reach of terror network to destabilise peaceful Southern India, according to persons familiar with the development. India is worried with Sunday’s attacks because this revival of terrorism in Sri Lanka will impact Tamil Nadu, Kerala and even Karnataka.
Suspicion is also growing about role of state actors in the serial attacks given sophistication of the strikes and quantum of explosives used in the attack, said one of the persons quoted above.
“This is not a lone wolf attack. The quantum of explosives used in the attack and precision of attack indicate role of experienced hands. This type of attack require training which may not be possible for local terror cells without support from abroad,” another source quipped.
Links between Lankan extremist groups and extremist elements in SE Asia and Maldives are also being probed. While handful traveled from Sri Lanka to join ISIS, Maldives has a growing extremist network, with over 200 recruits joining ISIS. Maldives has the highest number of ISIS recruits per capita anywhere in the world. In the past Maldivians have participated in the Afghan theatre besides being offered scholarships by Pakistan to study in madrassas.
Number of ISIS recruits in SE Asian states are returning back and respective authorities have been worried with returnees and indoctrination of locals. Indonesia has launched de-radicalisation project to address the issue.
“South India is relatively peaceful. The objective of destabilizing South India can be achieved through extremists from Sri Lanka, encourage them to develop contacts and linkages with extremists in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. ISIS had influenced some minds in coastal Karnataka and Kerala. Funds from dubious foreign charities are also visible in Kerala,” one the above-mentioned persons alleged.
It may be recalled that a former ISI chief was Pakistani High Commissioner in Sri Lanka few years ago. He used to encourage Lankan Muslims to study in Pakistani madrassas.
The Muslims constitute 7 per cent of the total population of Sri Lanka. Though majority of them live in Sinhalese areas there is a concentration of Muslims in the Lankan Eastern Province where they constitute roughly one third of the population. In the Eastern Province they speak Tamil whereas in the Sinhalese areas they speak both Tamil and Sinhalese.