Guwahati: A private mosque in Assam’s Bongaigaon district was demolished on Wednesday for alleged links with Al-Qaeda in India and the Bangladesh-based Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), police said.
This was the third private madrassa this month to be accused of having links with the terrorist outfit.
The crackdown comes days after madrasa teacher Hafizur Rahman was arrested on August 26. The imams, however, were locals and not from outside the state, according to the police.
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“We started the process of demolishing the Kabatari madrasa in Bongaigaon on Wednesday morning after the recovery of incriminating documents, suggesting links with jihadist groups, during a raid on Tuesday,” District Superintendent of Police (SP) Swapnaneel Deka said.
A notice of demolition was issued on Tuesday and around 200 students of the madrasa were sent back to their homes or moved to other nearby institutions, Deka added.
There is also the fact that private land madrasas have been built without the necessary supplies and permits. Therefore, the provisions of the Disaster Management Act have been destroyed,” said the SP.
On Monday, a private school in Barpeta district was destroyed by the authorities. Also, another private facility in Morigaon district was demolished on August 4. These two institutions were destroyed as it was alleged that members of AQIS and ABT were using them for jihad activities.
Attacking the state government, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal said his party will approach the Supreme Court if the demolition campaign against madrassas continues.
“We cannot accept the bulldozers of the Assam government against madrasas in the state. It should be stopped. If necessary, we will move the Supreme Court or another (court) against it,” he told news agency ANI.
“Maybe there are anti-social people in the Muslim community and the government should take action against the bad things. We have no problem with them. But using bulldozers in madrasas is not acceptable. I can,” he added.
Ajmal also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of “targeting” Muslims.
The BJP said the demolition action against the madrasas was taken on the basis of specifics related to alleged acts of terrorism.
“The state government is taking action against some madrassas on the basis of certain facts and also after arresting people associated with them who are believed to have links with jihad. I wonder why Ajmal is so sick about it. If he supports Jihad-like activities, the government will also take action against him,” state BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said.
There was no response from the madrasa administration at the time of filing this report.
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Since March this year, the Assam police have arrested around 40 people, including a Bangladeshi national, for their alleged links to both terrorism and attempted raids on slums in the state. .
Earlier this month, Chief Minister Sarma said Assam has become a breeding ground for “jihadi activities” as five “jihadi” types linked to Al Qaida-linked terrorist outfits in Bangladesh have been arrested in the past four months.
“Interestingly, the core of all these movements, so far, seems to be the madrassas. I am not general, but everyone who has been arrested so far had something to do with madrasahs or worked as evangelists in some mosques,” he said.
He then announced that police verification and online registration will soon be mandatory for imams and teachers of madrasas outside the state.