GUWAHATI: A purported report by the Central intelligence agencies linking Assam’s chief Opposition All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to jihadi elements sparked off widespread protests in the state on Wednesday, with the protesters demanding the immediate arrest of AIUDF chief and Lok Sabha MP Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and steps to derecognise the party.
The report, accessed by a national news channel, suggested that a group of Muslim youth from Assam had undergone jihadi training in Bangladesh recently, at the behest of AIUDF and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. Ajmal heads both the AIUDF and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s Assam unit. The report also suggested that the AIUDF selected the youth and provided them logistic support.
The report came against the backdrop of the arrest of six youth from Assam’s Barpeta district in connection with the Burdwan blast case. A section of the AIUDF leadership had then flayed the police for targeting Muslims in Assam by “cooking up” stories.
The protesters, members of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the BJP, the All Assam Students’ Union, the Asom Jatiyatabadi the Yuva Chhtra Parishad and the Bajrang Dal staged protests across the state, burning the effigies of Ajmal and demanding his arrest. They also demanded de-recognition of the AIUDF.
“The charge against the AIUDF is very serious. So, we demand a high level probe into it,” AGP president in-charge Atul Bora said.
The BJP went one step further. “He (Ajmal) should be arrested immediately. We also demand that AIUDF MLAs are kept under surveillance,” BJP MLA Prasanta Pkukan said.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who is away in Delhi, told journalists that his government did not have any evidence to link the AIUDF with the jihadi elements.
“We know about some youth going to Bangladesh for training, but we don’t have any evidence to link the AIUDF with jihadi elements,” Gogoi said.
State police chief Khagen Sarma had told Express that they were looking for at least 30 people in connection with the Burdwan blast case. “I won’t say madrasas, but a number of institutions and NGOs are under our scanner. We want to get to the bottom of the case,” he said.
The AIUDF has rubbished the report calling it “baseless” and part of a “political conspiracy” to defame the party ahead of the 2016 Assembly polls.“Some people are afraid of the rise of the AIUDF. So, they hatched a conspiracy to tarnish the image of the party,” Ajmal told journalists in Guwahati.
Protesters burn ajmal in effigy
The protesters, members of the Asom Gana Parishad, BJP, All Assam Students’ Union, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhtra Parishad and the Bajrang Dal staged protests across the state, burning the effigies of AIUDF chief Ajmal and demanding his arrest. They also demanded de-recognition of the AIUDF.