By now, it is well known that the Congress has a dangerous ally, a party called the Muslim League, which is mainly based in Kerala, and also has some tiny influence in Tamil Nadu [one Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu, of Ramanathapuram, won in alliance with the DMK-led combine]. In the past, Congress has allied with AIMIM, a party which vowed to kill Taslima Nasreen in 2007, and whose MLAs openly attacked her in 2007 in Hyderabad. What if we tell you that the Congress and its other mainstream allies like the DMK have a party as their ally which is even more dangerous than the Muslim League and the MIM? That sadly, is the truth.

   There were devastating bomb blasts in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu on 14 February 1998 which killed 58 people and nearly killed L K Advani, who had a miraculous escape as his flight was delayed by over 90 minutes due to bad weather. The then Congress President Sitaram Kesri made a ridiculous and bizarre allegation at that sensitive time, blaming RSS for the blasts.

   After this, the RSS sued Sitaram Kesri and there were reports that he denied having made the allegation. But he then denied having denied the allegation and stuck to his charge. Even an incident like the deadly Coimbatore blasts nearly killing Advani and killing 58 people, many of whom were BJP workers was not enough to infuse humanity and the Congress made such a reckless, insensitive and inhumane statement. Not just that, the party fully backed this charge. The then Tamil Nadu unit president of the party Thangabalu said: “If the bomb was planted by somebody other than the BJP, they would definitely have killed Advani. Because it was planted by them, they purposely delayed Advani’s meetings.”

  That’s not all. The Islamic radicals who carried out these bomb blasts belonged to the Al-Umma and the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagham (pronounced ‘Kalagham’, ‘la’ like in ‘Tamil’)– TMMK. After these blasts, the Congress actually allied with TMMK – a party involved in these Coimbatore blasts- in 2004, 2006 etc. The TMMK used to contest polls directly earlier. In Feb 2009 it formed a separate political wing called Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK).

  The then DMK Government of Tamil Nadu interfered in the working of the police and prevented them from acting tough against Al-Umma in late 1997 and early 1998, which was not even banned by the DMK Government till the 14 Feb 1998 blasts. The DMK Government banned Al-Umma only after the blasts. All this is given in detail in this article by us.

   However, the DMK Government at least banned the Al-Umma and took action after the blasts, but the Congress continued to defend the terrorists even after the blasts and instead accused RSS of carrying out the blasts.

   Diehard anti-RSS magazines like Outlook and Frontline too accepted the role of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) in these blasts. Communist fortnightly Frontline reported in its issue of 20 March 1998:

   “Within hours of the blasts, the Tamil Nadu Government banned Al-Umma and the Jihad Committee. Al-Umma founder-president S.A. Basha and 12 other members of the organisation were arrested in Chennai; explosive materials and weapons were seized from his house in Triplicane, Chennai. Leaders of the Jihad Committee and the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) were arrested in a State-wide crackdown. Among those arrested were Jihad Committee president R.M. Haniffa, general secretary Mohammed Haniffa, student wing secretary Akram Khan, TMMK president and college lecturer M.H. Jawahirulla and treasurer G.M. Pakkar. Over the next few days, over 100 activists of the three organisations were arrested at Keezhakkarai, Devakottai, Dindigul, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Nagercoil, Melapalayam and Udumalpet. About 1,000 others were detained as a precautionary measure…”

   Even Outlook accepted TMMK’s involvement in the Coimbatore blasts. It said on 13 April 1998:

 “As the crackdown following the February Coimbatore blasts continues, it is disturbingly clear that the ordinary Muslim is becoming increasingly alienated. Every day the police recover quintals after quintals of explosives hidden by the ‘fringe’ Islamic fundamentalist group, Al Umma—which, as it now turns out, is in fact a rather well connected terrorist outfit…

Initially the Muslim groups were splintered into as many as 10 major outfits. However, after the November riots in Coimbatore most of them started working in tandem. The most significant groups are: the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, All India Jihad Committee, Al Umma, Tamil Islamic Peravai, Sunnath Al Jammath Youth Front, SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India), Students Organisation of Islam, Muslim Protection Force and the JAQH (Jamiathul Ahle Quaran Wal Hadis).

…According to arrested members of the Al Umma, the ISI had suggested the elimination of the Hindu Munnani leader, Rajagopal, in Madurai in 1994. And the RDX used to blast the RSS office (August 1993) and the Hindu Munnani office (1995) was supplied by the ISI.

…By December 15 [1997], they (Al Umma men) also managed to get the support of the People’s Democratic Party chairman Abdul Nasser Madani—a radical Islamic figure of Kerala—in mobilising additional explosives. According to police sources, explosives weighing nearly 1,000 kg were accumulated in four weeks.”

   This is enough to know the role of Abdul Nasser Madani in those 1998 Coimbatore blasts. He was acquitted due to ‘lack of sufficient evidence’ in that case on 1 August 2007, and the DMK-Congress Government of Tamil Nadu did not appeal against his acquittal due to fear of losing the Muslim vote. Even before his acquittal, the Kerala Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution on 16 March 2006 demanding his release. Madani was later also the accused in the bomb blast in Bangalore in 2008 at the time of an IPL game. After the resolution and his subsequent release, he again was involved in another attack in 2008. In August 2010, the TMMK again demanded his release in that IPL game blast case (as reported by The Hindu dated 23 August 2010)!

   In September 2005 and February 2006, the TMMK demanded release of 250 odd accused arrested in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts case and other cases! Thousands of TMMK volunteers, including a large number of women, courted arrest on 28 February 2006 when they resorted to ‘jail bharo’ agitation all over Tamil Nadu demanding their immediate release. TMMK has, on other occasions, demanded release of an accused who was arrested in the 1993 RSS Chennai office blast which killed 11 people including 6 high-level pracharaks, as well as for the 1998 Coimbatore blasts.

   Advertisements eulogizing a killed terrorist who was involved in both the 1993 RSS Chennai office blast, as well as the 1998 Coimbatore blasts, were given in some newspapers of Tamil Nadu in September 2019 as well as September 2020. Indian National League (INL) had inserted an advertisement in 2019 in the English daily The Hindu in Tamil. The advertisement was released by Munnan Syed Ali of the INL. INL is considered to be a breakaway faction of the Muslim League. Similar advertisements were released in the DMK controlled Tamil daily Dinakaran in 2020 to observe his death anniversary on 29 September.

   Though the DMK was forced to act against Islamic radicals after the 1998 Coimbatore blasts, and it did not follow an openly pro-terrorist policy from 1999 to 2003 during the period of its alliance with the BJP at the Centre, it went back to its true nature 2004 onwards. It again got the support of TMMK for 2004 Lok Sabha polls and also for the 2006 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, which it won. Barely two weeks after it was sworn in in May 2006, Tamil Nadu’s DMK government ordered that cases be dropped against 12 Muslim fundamentalists, all followers of Kichaan Buhari, an Al-Umma sympathizer and key accused in the Coimbatore serial blasts. The Indian Express of 8 August 2006 reported:

Senior Policemen in Thirunelveli were shocked by what they termed the DMK Government’s ‘blatant sympathy’ for the Muslim fundamentalists. Obviously, the accused committed the offence with the grave intention to create law and order problems and disrupt peace in Tirunelveli district, known to be communally sensitive. Also, all of them have links with Muslim fundamentalist outfits. The government should have allowed the law to take its natural course. For a new government to resort to such a move is rather demoralising for the police force,” said a senior police officer in Tirunelveli.

Police officials say that in one of the cases, Crime No. 15 of 2001 registered at the Melapalayam police station, while two of the five accused were juveniles and let off given their age, the other three, including M S Syed Mohammed Buhari, Sheik Hyed and Jafer Ali had “admitted to the offence”. “Despite this, the government ordered the withdrawal of cases against them,” an officer said… There are also allegations that the ruling DMK was bending backwards to appease its electoral ally, the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK). A section of the police believe that the dropping of the six cases by the DMK government could be part of a pre-poll deal with the TMMK.”

   The TMMK was not just the DMK’s alliance partner, it was also of the Congress. The Congress too was a part of the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) alliance in Tamil Nadu with DMK and hence TMMK was its partner too. It is one thing to ally with a mainstream party whose ‘some members’ may have been guilty of involvement in terrorism in the past while the party, on the whole, is sensible, but it is quite another to ally with a radical pro-terrorist party & release terrorists and withdraw cases against them due to pressure of that party. [At that time, DMK had 97 MLAs out of 234 in the Tamil Nadu Assembly with the Congress having 33. DMK-Congress had a comfortable majority without needing the support of any other allies, and TMMK did not have a single MLA, though it supported the DMK-led Congress allied DPA.]

  In September 2005, TMMK had openly demanded the lifting of the ban on SIMI [as reported by The Hindu dated 26 September 2005] despite the fact that at that time SIMI was proven to be involved in bomb blasts in various parts of the country. A Times of India report of May 2006 said:

Terming the AIADMK as a “proxy” to the BJP, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) on Monday said it has decided to extend its support to the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in the May 8, 2006 assembly polls. TMMK activists would work in all the 234 constituencies in the state to ensure the victory of the DPA, TMMK President M H Jawahirullah and its General Secretary S Haider Ali, told reporters in Chennai.”

   This party had announced a boycott of the 1998 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu on 4 Feb 1998, a few days before the Coimbatore blasts, due to the ‘communal riots of 1997 in Coimbatore’. In the 1999 Lok Sabha, 2001 Assembly and 2004 Lok Sabha polls too, TMMK was with the Congress alliance. In 2001 AIADMK was with the Congress.  After the deadly bomb blasts in Mumbai on 11 July 2006 which killed 187 people, the then BJP President Rajnath Singh attacked the Congress and DMK for their ties with the TMMK.

   The Mumbai Mirror reported on 20 July 2006 in a report titled: “’SIMI is spiritual organization’” written by Jayraj Sivan: (Link no longer working, but earlier one was this )

   “TN Leader joins the ‘Save SIMI’ campaign

   Chennai: The ruling Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in Tamil Nadu is facing the prospect of explaining its links with Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) after BJP president Rajnath Singh accused TMMK of having ‘strong connections’ with the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which is under the scanner for its alleged involvement in the July 11 Mumbai serial blasts.

   Despite its ties with the ruling DPA, the TMMK is under the Central and State intelligence agencies scanners because after the ban on Al-Umma for involvement in the 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts, most Al-Umma leaders joined TMMK.

  Though the DMK has kept some distance from the outfit since then — primarily because of its five-year alliance with BJP — it roped in TMMK into the DPA before the 2004 Parliamentary polls. However, Karunanidhi has been maintaining that TMMK, like many other smaller parties, is not an alliance partner, but only a friendly party.

   When contacted, TMMK president Professor M H Jawahirullah said, “BJP’s charges are absurd. Our’s is an independent organisation and we believe in achieving our goals through democratic and constitutional means.” Asked whether he had been an active member of SIMI in the past, he said, “I was in SIMI till 1989, after which I retired as I crossed 30 years of age, which is the upper limit for SIMI membership.” However, he defended SIMI saying, “SIMI is a spiritualist organisation. It will never get involved in extremist activities.”

   Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and his allies are yet to react to Singh’s charge that the DPA partners such as DMK and Congress were encouraging fundamentalist and jehadi forces such as TMMK in the state.”

     Even after the July 2006 bomb blasts in Mumbai which were clearly revealed to be the work of SIMI, the TMMK had the audacity to call SIMI a ‘spiritual organization’ while SIMI’s leaders openly praised Osama bin Laden as the ‘True hero and champion of Islam.’ The above article also clearly states that after the ban on Al Umma, most Al Umma leaders joined TMMK. TMMK is thus, nothing but virtually Al Umma under another name.

   In August 2019, a leader of the TMMK openly threatened to behead PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, as reported by DNA newspaper on 27 August 2019, for which he was arrested. He said: “If we had only been thinking of Muslims, Amit Shah wouldn’t be alive at this moment, Narendra Modi wouldn’t be alive and Parliament wouldn’t be Parliament. But we have not done that. Why? Because we have respect for India’s laws, democracy and Constitution”.

   In 2020, all 32 high-profile accused were acquitted in the Babri Masjid demolition case by the special court. After this, the TMMK, a party itself involved in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts, openly burnt the effigies of the judge who acquitted 32 high profile accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, which was reported by The Hindu dated 2 October 2020! This was blatant contempt of court.

  In July 2006 when the then BJP chief Rajnath Singh attacked the Congress and DMK for alliance with TMMK, the then DMK chief M Karunanidhi said that TMMK is not an ally but just a friendly party (which was absolutely wrong, it was their ally and they withdrew cases against terrorists in 2006 after coming to power as part of the deal with TMMK).

   But at least DMK publicly said at that time in 2006 that TMMK is not their ally but just a friendly party. Now they have dropped all pretenses. DMK chief M K Stalin openly addressed the 25th year of foundation celebrations of TMMK in Tamil Nadu in September 2020, praised the TMMK, and so did MDMK leader Vaiko, Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi president Thol. Thirumavalavan, as reported by The Hindu dated 7 September 2020.

   Even today, after so many years, the Congress has never apologized for its false and shameless allegation that the RSS carried out the 1998 Coimbatore blasts, nor has it ever condemned the TMMK or explained its alliance with the party or even its precise connection to it.

   This party was and is an ally of the Congress, Left and DMK in Tamil Nadu. The mainstream media has almost completely ignored this. There is an immediate need to highlight and corner the Congress, Communists and DMK, and everyone else in the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu, for allying with TMMK. DMK chief Stalin and leaders of other allies like MDMK, VCK attending this radical party’s celebrations needs to be condemned by not just the political opponents of the DMK and Congress, but also the media. The people of Tamil Nadu should be made to understand and realize the dangers.

[The writer is the author of the book “Why the Vajpayee Government lost the 2004 Lok Sabha polls- An analysis which exposes a lot of media propaganda, particularly before the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, and before the 2002 Gujarat State Assembly polls and is also the author of ‘Gujarat Riots: The True Story’ and one of the admins of the Twitter handle @Gujaratriotscom and one of the admins of the website]

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.