The Assam government today informed the state legislative assembly that since 2016, 84 people have been arrested in Assam for being suspects in radical jihadi terror modules. 40 of these have been arrested this year in the ongoing investigations into Al-Qaeda backed terror modules in the state, in connection with which three Madrassas have been bulldozed, and one other has been demolished by locals.
The state government in a written reply to a question also stated that out of 40 terror suspected held in cases related to Al-Qaeda In The Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) linked modules, only 10 have links to Madrassas. This comes at a time when, only last week, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that the private Madrassas razed were Al-Qaeda offices.
The leader of the opposition parties have demanded a discussion on Madrassa demolitions in the five-day-long autumn session of the state assembly that started today.
“We need further discussion on the Madrassa issue since the government had claimed that Madrassas are centres of jihadi activities, but today in reply to my question the government said out of 84 persons arrested in connection to terror module cases since 2016, only 10 have links to Madrassas. This contradicts the claims of the government about Madrassas being terror hubs,” said Assam’s leader of the opposition and Congress MLA Debabrata Saikia.
On August 29, after a private Madrassa in the Barpeta district was demolished by the administration after it was claimed that the facility was built illegally on government land and was being used as a training camp for terror activities, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said, “This is the second Madrassa we have demolished [in Assam] as these institutions were being used as a hub for terrorism.”
The other key opposition party — AIUDF — has also questioned the Chief Minister’s stand, based on the reply given on the floor of the house today.
“It is not a correct policy to demolish an educational institution, be it school or Madrassa just because a teacher was associated with a terror outfit. The ULFA, NDFB cadres were also students of some school. We are with the government for crackdown against terror groups, but don’t support Madrassa demolitions. So, we will raise it in assembly,” said Rafikul Islam, AIUDF MLA.