Police tighten vigil in Kerala ahead of Thrissur Pooram

Thrissur Pooram. File photo

With the Sri Lankan army chief revealing that some of the Easter day suicide bombers had visited Kerala, the security agencies in the state have tightened the vigil.

Riyas Aboobacker, who was held by the NIA from Muthalamada in Palakkad district last week for IS links, reportedly revealed that suicide bombing was even planned at some major festival events in Kerala.

The police have decided to ensure tight vigil at the upcoming Thrissur Pooram, a major festival in Kerala where thousands of people and hundreds of elephants converge. Police sources said that a high-level meeting held on Saturday, regarding the upcoming famous festival to begin on May 13, decided to tighten the security and keep the security agencies and intelligence on high alert.

Meanwhile, a Sri Lankan citizen was held under suspicious circumstances in Thiruvananthapuram city by the police on Saturday evening. Officers of military intelligence and intelligence bureau questioned them, apart for Kerala police. However, nothing suspicious was found, said police sources.

Police identified the person as Maluge Juth Selfon Dias. Though he maintained that he was aged 32, a Sri Lankan identity card recovered from him showed his age as 47. Since he did not have travel documents, a case would be registered against him under the Foreigners Act, said the police.

Over the years, Kerala has become home for over 25 lakh migrant workers from places like Bihar, Assam and West Bengal. The increasing flow of migrant workers is a challenge the police are struggling to deal with. The nearly 600 km-long coastline of Kerala and high level of fishing activities taking place here offer more challenges to the police and intelligence agencies, said sources.

Kerala has good number of Sri Lankan refugees. It is estimated that there are over 6,000 Sri Lankans in Kerala. There were even instances of Sri Lankans from Kerala being illegally trafficked to places like Australia from Kerala. In January this year, one incident came to light. The intelligence agencies were learnt to be reviewing those incidents to track possible terror links, said police sources.

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