India keeps eye on Lanka turmoil to prevent spillover to Kerala, Tamil Nadu

Rising tensions between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Sri Lanka manifested through Monday’s resignation of Muslim ministers from the Ranil Wickremesinghe cabinet has major security implications for India, especially in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The Modi government is apprehensive of a contagion effect and keeping a close watch on links between disgruntled elements and radicals among Lankan Muslims and their counterparts amongst Muslims in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, says a report published online by the Times of India yesterdaty.

The report filed from New Delhi said: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to urge Lankan leadership to strive for harmony among communities during his visit to Colombo on June 9 to prevent a spillover across Palk Strait to southern India.

India could work with Lanka on deradicalisation initiatives to prevent growth of Islamic State (IS) in the southern Indian neighbourhood, indicated persons familiar with the issue. Expanding counterterror partnership was a key item on the agenda for Modi’s bilateral meet with the Lankan president who attended the PM’s swearing in ceremony as part of invitation to the BIMSTEC leaders.

Investigations revealed that Sri Lankan Muslim preacher Zahran Hashim, who masterminded the attacks in Colombo, had already radicalised several Indian youths in different parts of south India. One of his suspected followers has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency and has reportedly confessed to a plan to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala.

Hashim may have been in contact with an IS module in Tamil Nadu. The Kerala coast has been put on high alert following intelligence reports that boats allegedly with IS terrorists and operatives had set off for the Lakshadweep Islands. The boats have allegedly set off from Sri Lanka.

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