In the suspected terror attack aboard the 16307 Alappuzha – Kannur Executive Express train near Elathur on 2 April, the investigation focuses on the Popular Front of India (PFI) strongholds near Shoranur in the Palakkad district. The arson attempt happened near two massive Hindustan Petroleum (HP) oil storage tanks, barely meters from the railway track near Elathur in Kozhikode district. Earlier, Railway Protection Force officers arrested Shahrukh Saifi, a native of Shaheen Bagh in Delhi from Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
Dark forces planned a massive terror attack by setting fire to entire train bogies. They are the same ones who brought Saifi to Kerala. Modeled on the Godhra train burning incident, a lack of proper training meant that Saifi failed. The heat could have melted the HP fuel tanks near Elathur, and the consequences would have been a disaster for the neighborhood.
While attempting arson on the train and in the melee that followed, Saify lost a vital shoulder bag containing the fuel and his belongings. More importantly, he could not indulge in any more violence without the petrol. This bag included a mobile phone and bomb-making literature and took investigators to his Shaheen Bagh address. Neatly packed home food found proved someone had helped him in Kerala.
Saifi loitered around but attempted to kill passengers by dousing them in petrol exactly when the train reached Elathur. Panic spread, passengers scattered, and someone pulled the emergency chain, locking the wagons.
Half the train was precariously on the Elathur railway bridge over the Korapuzha River. Being a tidal river means it remains filled to the brim, and the bridge is half a kilometer long. Incidentally, by then, Saifi had lost his bag and become practically useless since the rest of the petrol-filled plastic bottles were in that bag.
There was nothing that even the train driver could do but wait for help to arrive. Had Saifi been successful at his first target (burning the bogies), hundreds of passengers would have jumped into several feet of water. Many would not have made it out of the deep river. It took an astonishing twenty minutes before the train was moved onto land safety.
After the terror act, Saify withdrew into the same crowd and traveled to the train’s final destination, Kannur. It also shows our security apparatus on trains needs serious review. In that 80 km Elathur to Kannur ride, Saifi would have watched his victims being evacuated. Kerala police failed to monitor the train even after a terrorist act.
The train reached Kannur after midnight. Within an hour, Saifi boarded the Ajmerbound Marusagar Express in the early morning. He fell from the train, hurt himself, and is said to have lost eyesight in one. Locals admitted him to a hospital, but he was picked up pretty soon.
Investigators suspect Saifi was in touch with Keralite terrorists and concluded that several helped him in Kerala. Multiple experts have concurred that the terror suspect received local help. The jihadi from Shaheen Bagh managed to kill three (including a toddler) and has injured several (including himself), some seriously. Saify refused to accept his role in the deaths.
A conspiracy was allegedly hatched to use suicide squads to create havoc using terror attacks inside Kerala. Local authorities and politicians are yet to accept the incident as a terrorist attack and have acted strangely while dealing with Saifi. There are allegations that sleeper cells have been activated at multiple levels to defend the jihadi.
Moving Saifi to Kerala after his arrest has helped alleged terror sympathizers to meet and tutor him on plans. Railway Protection Force captured Saify with input from central agencies and directions from Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad officers. By then, it was 11 pm on 4 April. By daybreak, the number one wanted terrorist in Kerala was brought to Kerala by road using a security detail team of three Kerala police personnel.
Once in Kerala, Saifi used three vehicles, and authorities claimed car trouble. One was a luxury SUV that cost 50 lakhs plus taxes in Kerala. Saify was taken to the sprawling Government Medical College, Kozhikode.
While receiving top medical assistance and still on his sick bed, authorities allegedly allowed a journalist with a shady past to meet the terror suspect in person. This reporter is also close to the communist regime at Thiruvananthapuram.
Saifi’s parents claimed he had never left Delhi all his life. Some reports suggest he boarded the Sampark Kranthi Express on 31 March. Before dawn, he arrived at Shoranur Railway Junction under the Palakkad Railway Division at 4.49. Saify boarded the ill-fated Executive Express at 7.19 in the evening.
What happened in those crucial hours and who he met remains unknown. A Kerala Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) led by ADGP M R Ajith Kumar is interrogating Saify, but reports suggest they have not made much headway. Allegedly, Saifi claims that he committed the crime alone.
CCTV footage showed Saifi visit a petrol station in Shoranur where he allegedly ‘bought’ four liters of petrol in separate plastic bottles. He had emptied the drinking water. Without hiring an auto from the railway station directly, Saify walked around one km and then hired one. This auto took him to the fuel station one and a half kilometers away.
Saify is said to have spoken Hindi, but someone distributing petrol in this manner to a total stranger is highly suspicious. There are also several fuel stations on the way to this one, so why choose this specific petrol pump?
There are claims that Saifi traveled without tickets by jumping compartments while hiding his face. There are also allegations that he had accomplices all along the way. The clothes he was wearing at the time of arrest were not the same ones he was wearing at the time of the attack. Who got him a change of clothes?
Some allege the train chain-pulling incident while it was on the bridge also points to accomplices. Finally, did they try to finish off the suspect and fling him from the train near Ratnagiri? Kerala police are clueless whether the three who died after falling from the train near Elathur jumped or were pushed.
Some reports suggested Internal Affairs reports submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs reproved how Kerala police handled the Saifi train arson terror act. It started with a delayed preliminary examination of the crime scene. When local police found the bodies of those who fell, Saifi was on the train to Ajmer.
Police found Saifi’s suspected bag and opened its contents in full media view. The urgency showed to move Saifi back to Kerala has since declined. Central agencies are not permitted to participate in the interrogation. NIA intimated specific terror links, but the police failed to follow up adequately.
Police failed to act against suspects who helped Saifi at Shoranur even after being intimated by central agencies. One media house was allowed access to coverage while Saifi was bought for his medical examination. His recent phone records made major agencies suspect the jihadi received aiding and abetting from several states, not just Kerala.
IANS reported that senior PFI leaders, including the arrested C Rouf, are from Pattambi near Shoranur, and the banned Islamist organization has a vast network in the area. PFI has a religious center, Sathya Sarani, in Manjeri, Malappuram district, which is widely accused of being the hub used to convert people forcefully. Manjeri is near Shornur, and the banned PFI has an extensive network.
Janam TV reported that Saifi received help from Ongallur near Pattambi, 10 km from Shoranur railway station. They added that Kerala SIT had inspected four houses in the vicinity. Saifi stayed somewhere in this area, allegedly attended the evening prayers at a mosque nearby, and left with enough food in his carry bag. Even as the main conspirators feel the heat from multiple ATSs in different states working on the case, Kerala police are yet to comb the area.
CPM runs Shoranur Municipality in alliance with PFI’s political arm, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). In 33 seats, CPM has 16 and rules Shoranur with the help of a lone SDPI councilor. These partners allegedly want to topple a proper investigation. BJP has nine, while Congress has seven.
The Marxist regime will not accept the Elathur train burning case as an act of terror. Appeasement politics means Saifi has yet to be charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Jihad sympathizers like K T Jaleel are trying to manipulate the case using conspiracy theories.