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Extremists regrouping?

S. Vijay Kumar

The murder of Hindu Makkal Katchi leader raises the suspicion

MADURAI: : The murder of Hindu Makkal Katchi State vice-president R. Kalidas (55) here on Tuesday, a fortnight after the killing of a temple priest, K. Gangadharan (54), has raised the suspicion about the possible "revival" and "regrouping" of fundamentalists in the southern districts.

After the March 7, 2002 operation, in which armed gangsters rescued extremists Imam Ali, and Hyder Ali from police custody at the Tirumanagalam station, fundamentalists and their sympathisers have kept a low profile.

However, clandestine meetings in Tirunelveli district, floating of an outfit named "AMF" in Dindigul district, resolutions threatening to "eliminate" police officials involved in the special operation in Bangalore on September 29, 2002 (in which Imam Ali and four others were killed) and demands for the release of "innocent" Muslim youth were reported in the last two years.

The murder of Kalidas in broad daylight on the busy Munichalai Road has strengthened police suspicion that fundamentalists with inter-district links were "resurfacing". The `modus operandi' of the suspects in the Kalidas murder was similar to those used in the killings of Hindu Munnani leader Rajagopal in 1994, Assistant Jailor Jayaprakash in 1997, Madura College professor K.R. Paramasivam in 1998 and the temple priest. In these cases, the offence was committed in busy localities and in full public view.

Surrenders

A. Mannar Mohideen (25) of Madurai, one of the suspects in the Kalidas murder, surrendered in a Tiruchi court on Wednesday. The bandh called by the Hindu Makkal Katchi here on Thursday evoked little response.

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