Thiruvananthapuram, Apparently referring to some youths from the state going missing and suspected to have joined Islamic State, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said people should be cautious against efforts by terror outfits to convert religious beliefs into communal hatred.
In his address after unfurling the national flag at Central Stadium here on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day, he said people should consider such celebrations as occasions to remind themselves about the need to protect the 'invaluable freedom from communal and terror' forces.
"It is a time when terrorists groups are vehemently trying their best to convert spirituality and religious beliefs into communal hatred. We have to be vigilant and ensure that our children, who go to schools and places of worship, are not reaching the hideouts of terror and communal forces," he said.
Vijayan said the families and people should be alert. The Chief Minister's caution comes in the wake of at least 21 people from the state going missing after travelling to the Middle East and were believed to have joined the terror outfit Islamic State.
Vijayan also said his two-month old government would be increasing the welfare fund for non-resident Keralites to Rs 10 crore while for their rehabilitation the fund would be enhanced to Rs 24 crore.
The announcement comes at a time when Indians, including Keralites, were facing severe hardships in the Gulf sector with many losing jobs.
"The fund for rehabilitation of NRKs will be increased from Rs 12 crore to Rs 24 crore," he said.
Stating that his government would unveil various projects to exploit the potential of state youths, Vijayan said the IT sector would be given special focus and Rs 482 crore would be spent this year for its development.
The government was going ahead with its plan of setting up an exclusive department to deal with the issues of women, the Chief Minister added.
State ministers unfurled the national flag at district headquarters.