BENGALURU: Intelligence agencies across South India have brought a local Muslim organisation, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) and its sister wing, the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath, under high surveillance, in the wake of the explosions that ripped through Colombo on Easter Sunday.
This was done after Sri Lanka police pointed the finger of suspicion at National Tawheed Jamaat (NTJ), an obscure group, for the suicide bombings.
However, TNTJ’s state president Shamsulluha and its Karnataka chapter member Md Ghani clarified that they have no links with the NTJ and are a non-political Islamic organisation involved in the socio-religious activity.
“Our organisation was founded in 2004 in Tamil Nadu and has branches across South India. Our work focuses on four objectives — giving dawah (inviting people to Islam), socio-religious activities, open questions forum to clear misconceptions of Islam by non-Muslims and organising protests in a democratic manner against any injustice, irrespective of religion,” said Md Ghani, orator, Audit Committee Member, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath.
Blaming the media and others who tried to link the two organisations because of the common name ‘Thowheed Jamath’ which means ‘oneness with God’, Shamsulluha said, “Just because we have a common name, they cannot call us extremists. There are many organisations with Gandhi or words like Dravida and Kazhagam in their names. Does it mean that all of them have the same ideology or have links?”
The Jamath members said they don’t get any funding from the government, nor do they seek donations from outside the organisation. They are said to have 8 lakh members in South India, including Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. There are 2,000 followers from Karnataka. “We have businessmen and several officials among our members who fund us. During the Chennai floods, we donated a huge amount of money and nearly 30,000 volunteers helped,” said Md Ghani.
Explaining how their name was “dragged” into this, he said a post on Facebook led to the confusion. The organisation put out a post on social media, condemning the attack, and meanwhile, Sri Lanka police suspected that NTJ could be behind the blasts. “This led to several people across the world trolling us and posting negative comments. It is sad that this happened,” Ghani added.
However, officials from the state intelligence bureau said irrespective of these claims, some members of the organisation will be on their radar.
“There are at least five offices of TNTJ in Karnataka, and also offices across Tamil Nadu. Their headquarters in KG Halli and Chennai will also be under the scanner,” said a senior officer. However, Ghani said there has been no inquiry from any police department or intelligence officers so far.