Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday blew the lid off Jihadi activities in Assam. Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Sarma explained threadbare how Muslim fundamentalist organisations from Bangladesh have snuck into Assam in the guise of religious teachers.
Giving a historical perspective, the CM said the presence of religious fundamentalist in Assam was found way back in 1999. Members of Harkat-Ul-Mujahedeen (HUM) were caught in that year and subsequently modules of Harkat-Ul-Jehad Al Islam (HUJI) were busted in 2003-04.
Thereafter, Assam Police effectively busted modules of Jamatul Mujahedeen during 2011-2016 followed by activities of Hijbul Mujahedeen being detected during 2018- 2019. Sarma further said since 2020, Ansarul Bangla Team (ABT) along with Al Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) is active in the state. Assam Police have busted five modules of ABT in five months from three districts of Assam this year.
Explaining the modus operandi, of ABT, the CM said the leaders who gain entry illegally into Assam from Bangladesh try to indoctrinate gullible youth including children. Their job is to indoctrinate as many as people after which AQIS takes over to carry out sabotage using these people, he said. Differentiating the gun and bomb training and terror activities that are carried out by other extremist groups in Assam, Sarma said indoctrination is far more dangerous and penetrating as the brainwashed people can go up to any extent including becoming a human bomb.
They do not carry out bomb blast for publicity like other extreme groups, he elaborated. He also clarified the fact that Bangladesh government had proscribed ABT in its soil.
Meanwhile, a madrassa in question was also bulldozed in Assam’s Morigaon district on the same day. The CM said one arrestee who is a doctorate in Arabic literature was carrying out Jihadi activities by opening that Madrassa since the last four years. He was acting as an imam in a local mosque, as well.
Incriminating literatures were reportedly found from his possession. Sarma also said the tipoff that led to busting of those modules essentially came from members of Muslim community and 99.9 percent Muslims of Assam are peace-loving and in no way connected to such activities. He appealed the Muslim community to not welcome imams from outside in local mosques and monitor what is being taught in private madrassas.
Incidentally, Assam government has banned all government run madrassas and converted those to regular schools. On the role of Popular Front of India (PFI), the CM said “no direct role was found, but they do create an ecology by projecting Muslims as victim of discrimination in the hand of the government whereas it is the members of Muslim community who have got the benefit of government schemes than any other community.”
On the other hand, Nasem Ahmed, former General Secretary of All Assam Madrassa Student Union opposed bulldozing of madrassas to dust on mere allegation of suspicious activities. Speaking to News18, he said, “like government-run madrassas, government is creating an atmosphere to close down private run madrassas as well”.
Juniad Khalid, advocate in Gauhati High Court said, Muslim organizations are ready to launch deradicalisation programs in far flung Muslim populated areas with the help of the government. Dilip Bora, former DGP of Assam said it is the collective responsibility of Hindus and Muslim alike to prevent Muslim people from getting radicalised.
Lakhya Konwar, BJP spokesperson said children are barred from exploring their lives in their adolescence through such orthodox religious teachings; and such prohibition explodes in other forms. He further said Muslim children had all the right to get modern education.