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We ought to be vigilant
In My View

We ought to be vigilant

P.C. Punnen

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested Muhammed Azharudheen, the alleged mastermind of the ISIS Tamil Nadu module. Five others have been detained. Azharudheen was a Facebook friend of an alleged ISIS activist in the Colombo suicide bomb attacks. The NIA has raided seven places in Coimbatore and five of Azharudheen's friends have been detained.

The ISIS has been trying to spread its violent methods in South India. It's a question why it has been tried in South India. Is it because they have failed in Kashmir and in North India or because they have just extended their operations to the South also? It's a question that can be answered by the Indian government only. South India is a place where people have clear priorities. Their primary concern is of life and daily needs. They are less concerned about religious matters compared to their daily needs. The recent news of the ISIS recruiting youth from Kerala and some of them moving to Afghanistan and Syria has spread fear among the people.

So the ISIS activities need eternal vigilance. Eternal vigilance does a huge job in our schools. With the help of the police and our religious leaders all this has to be over viewed by the government.

In Kerala, in these activities, the government and the police need to do more. They should keep in mind that this is not a law and order issue and therefore it needs to be handled with far more tact and intelligence. The source for ISIS moves succeeding among youth, though in a few cases only, needs to be studied carefully and measures to deal with the dissatisfaction amongst the youth needs to be taken by the government. In other words it must be handled politically and socially by the law enforcing agencies to nip it the bud. This applies also to our religious leaders and people of all politics. The earlier they do the above mentioned work the better for our nation.

Kerala is known for its good, secular ties. Keralites are religious but unswayed easily by religion; Keralites have money as their supreme devotion. Take for example the Gulf jobs. No Keralite is overly concerned about their religion or what they call in Kerala the religious right; they want money and for it they work hard. That is natural and justified.

Now in Kerala there is a change. There seems to be hyperactivity in the religious spheres. They are going to extreme steps to support their religious faith. For example the Christian clashes regarding their beliefs. Take the case of the Jacobites and the Orthodox Church disputes. The same people in the case of weddings care two hoots for the division for which they go to any extent. This is an issue that baffles all, but I have a different opinion; it is money that matters. For example the top bishops of the Jacobites have issued a statement supporting the government in the Church act which has not been implemented by the Marxist government. My guess is that they will pass it as an assembly resolution when it suits the CPM.

The Hindu religion is the oldest religion which is known for its version that all are equal. But that concept is not adhered to. Hinduism is a way of life, the Supreme Court has said.  Strictly speaking it is not a religion such as Muslims and Christians have. They have one God whereas the Hindus have many. That shows in a way how tolerant are Hindus. Christians are neither here nor there though the fanatic Christian at times speak ill of other religions and boast of their uprightness in religion.

We Indians, 99% of us have been Hindus at some point of time. Hinduism had many injustices meted out to women and the lower castes. They have been abolished thanks mainly to the Christian missionaries and the teachings of Sri Narayana Guru. Hinduism today is a much more open religion than its counterparts in the sense that it tolerates people who have the right to speak ill of Hindus, boast of their culture, tradition and faith.

In this background, the Kerala government and the central government have taken steps to avoid the spread of ISIS activities. Full marks are due to Keralites as a whole. Inspite of reports in the media of random Keralites, misguided ones, having left to join ISIS, there is empathy for that community which is repeatedly losing their young sons.

Kerala has been very tolerant. Tamil Nadu and other states in South India too have been very tolerant unlike Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir. So this activity of the ISIS is bound to fail. Keralites are religious but have not taken steps like Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir. But all the same, we have to stand united and ensure that the game of ISIS fails.

Keralites and South Indians as a whole, have to be cautious and permanently vigilant. All political activists, religious leaders and school teachers have to stand united. Else it will be a disaster worse than the floods that Kerala has seen and overcome.

The controversy over flood relief comes to mind but the way we overcame it as Malayalis was superb. Hope springs eternal in the human mind. Let us hope that we can overcome this threat too.

Elections are over and so too all the controversy over the floods. Let us now focus and hope that the ISIS will be defeated by the people of India.

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The ideas and views expressed in the article are those of the author.