Assam: Police claims locals demolished Goalpara madrassa used for 'jihadi' activities

Local people accused two Bangladeshis, who are currently absconding, of using the premises of the madrassa located at Pakhiura Char under the Matia Police Station limits for 'jihadi' activities.

Published: 07th September 2022 12:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2022 12:32 PM   |  A+A-

FIR (Express Illustration)

Representational Image. (File | EPS)

By PTI

GUWAHATI/GOALPARA: The Assam Police on Tuesday claimed that people have demolished a madrassa and a house adjacent to it in Goalpara district in protest against the alleged use of the institute's premises for 'jihadi' activities.

Local people accused two Bangladeshis, who are currently absconding, of using the premises of the madrassa located at Pakhiura Char under the Matia Police Station limits for 'jihadi' activities, Goalpara Superintendent of Police V V Rakesh Reddy told reporters.

"The local people have taken the initiative to demolish the madrassa. The police and the district administration are not involved in it," the SP said.

AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal said the state government should not bulldoze educational institutes.

Reacting to madrassas being razed to the ground by the state administration, he said, "It is not right to demolish educational institutes, be it a madrassa or any other educational or religious institute".

"If any 'jihadi' is found, the state must properly investigate the matter and take action as per the law of the land. If a court gives orders for demolition, then it is fine but any random exercise is not accepted," the MP said.

A Congress spokesperson said the party is looking into the matter and will give a detailed response to the Goalpara incident only after talking to the local people.

The use of the madrassa premises in Goalpara for anti-national activity came to light following the arrest of Jalaluddin Sheikh, a cleric of the institute with his alleged links with the two Bangladeshis who are suspected members of terror outfits- Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Ansarul Bangla Team (ABT), the SP said.

According to the police, Sheikh had allegedly engaged the duo as teachers of the Darogar Alga Pakhiura Char Madrassa by "convincing the villagers that they are very knowledgeable and have come from West Bengal though they are Bangladeshis".

A local resident Shah Alam Sheikh told reporters that villagers did not know anything about 'jihadi' activities being carried out on the madrassa premises and were under the impression that the teachers had come to teach their children".

"We cannot allow 'jihadi' activities in our village. When the police raided the house attached to the madrassa and found many documents related to such activities, the locals decided to demolish the structure," Sheikh said.

Another villager Tashan Ali said when the madrassa was set up, the locals "did not verify the identity of the teachers who had come to teach our children in the institute".

"We came to know from the police that they are Bangladeshis and linked to the terror organisations," he said.

Ali also mentioned that people should be careful while allowing madrassas to be set up in their villages and should inform the police.

He insisted that the identity of madrassa builders must be "verified before allowing them to construct such a structure".

An unverified video showed villagers knocking down temporary walls of the madrassa.

The SP claimed that both the madrassa and the residential establishment have been demolished by the locals.

"When the public came to know that the 'jihadi' activities were going on in the madrassa without their knowledge, there was a strong resentment. The people were clear that they would not support such elements in their area," Reddy said.

The people have given a strong message that their villages or areas "will not be allowed to be used for such activities", the SP said.

The Darogar Alga Pakhiura Char Madrassa is among four such institutes that have been razed to the ground recently for allegedly being used for 'jihadi' activities in the northeastern state.

Three other institutes are in Morigaon, Barpeta and Bongaigaon districts, which were demolished by the administrations since August this year.

The absconding Bangladeshis - Aminul Islam alias Usman alias Mehdy Hasan and Jahangir Alom - are suspected members of Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) or Ansarul Bangla Team (ABT), the SP said.

The duo had taught in the madrassa between 2020 and 2022, and had stayed at the house attached to the institute, the police claimed.

"We had raided the house earlier and recovered incriminating documents, 'jihadi' literature, pamphlets among others which are definite proofs that they used to stay there till very recently and planned to expand their network for 'jihadi' activities by working as teachers at the madrassa," Reddy said.

Ajmal, the AIUDF leader, said the demolition of the madrassa by the people in Goalpara is a "good sign as they have realised that these elements had used the premises for alleged jihadi activities".

"When people come to know that anti-state activities are being carried out, and themselves decide to knock down the madrassa, it is welcome," the Lok Sabha MP from Dhubri said.

He, however, warned the people to "be on alert and ensure that proper verification of teachers in the madrassas must be done, and the authorities are informed if any new teacher joins such institute".

Congress Lok Sabha MP Abdul Khaleque and four party legislators from Assam have urged the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to intervene and investigate the recent demolition of a madrassa in Bongaigaon along with ensuring justice to the 224 students who were studying there.

In a letter to NCM Chairperson Iqbal Singh Lalpura, the Congress leaders alleged that the state government had demolished the Markazul Ma-Arif Quariayana Madrassa in Bongaigaon district under Khaleque's parliamentary constituency in Barpeta, "in blatant disregard to the rule of law".

In Goalpara district, five persons with alleged links to terror outfits have been arrested so far, Reddy said.



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