Assam chief minister considers tough approach on national madrassas after elimination of al-Qaeda-linked terror module

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the state was considering starting registration of national madrassas following the arrest of 12 alleged jihadists belonging to the Bangladesh-based terrorist outfit Ansar-ul-Bangla Team (ABT), which is linked to India. The sub is from the global terrorist organization al-Qaeda. Continent (AQIS) was arrested from two districts.

Among the 12 suspected jihadists, the police arrested Mufti Mustafa, a seminary teacher, and Israfal, a local businessman. In addition to the arrests, Jamia Madrasah was sealed and four teachers of Bint Madrasah were detained for questioning about their affiliation.

The Assam Police said in a tweet that the alleged jihadists were arrested from Morigaon, Barpeta, Guwahati and Goalpara in a major anti-terror operation. “In a major crackdown against anti-national, jihadist elements, Assam Police arrested 11 persons from Morigaon, Barpeta, Guwahati and Goalpara. They are linked to Islamic fundamentalist outfits with global terrorist outfits like AQIS and ABT. There are connections.

Acting on intelligence inputs, Morigaon police arrested Mufti Mustafa on July 28 for suspected links with Ansar-ul-Islam.

A graduate in Islamic law from Bhopal, Mustafa started the Jamia Al Huda Madrasah in Sahria village in Morigaon district in 2018. According to top Assam Police officials, Mufti had sheltered a Bangladeshi national and a member of a terrorist group in his madrassa. It also provided him with a SIM and logistical support.

According to Superintendent of Police Morrigan, Mustafa’s bank details show that he had several financial transactions with Ansar-ul-Islam activists Ameeruddin Ansari and Mamoon Rasheed, who were arrested a few months ago in Kolkata and Barpeta respectively. The SP added that Mustafa not only had money from foreign sources since 2019 but also distributed them locally.

Asked about the growing threat of terrorist activities in the state, Assam Chief Minister Sarma said, “Jihad is not an issue.” We have arrested people belonging to these organizations. The bank accounts show that the funding is coming from Bangladesh. Additionally, it is based on intelligence from the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) Bangalore.

Sarma said, “Assam is considering introducing ‘registration’ of national madrasas in the state to prevent the use of public madrasas to run jihadi activities. Meanwhile, the state government has already closed all government madrasas.” is given

In Barpeta, 10 jihadists were arrested within 48 hours by national police agencies for their alleged links to AQIS and ABT. On Thursday, an NIA team reached Morigaon to check the connection of all the arrests made in the last 72 hours.

A swift action by the National Intelligence Grid and the Assam Police team helped the NIA trace the details of the terror module in Morigaon. This case is the second module of jihadi operation in Assam that NIA is investigating after the Barpeta module. Assam Police has busted five modules of Al-Qaeda and ABT active in Assam.

“Private madrassas are factories of jihad in Assam and we are sitting on a ticking bomb that can explode anytime. It is time to close these madrassas,” said Shiladitya Deb, chairman of the Assam State Linguistic Minority Board. said

A major cause for concern, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in April appealed to Muslims to form an Indian branch of his militant group to “raise the flag of jihad” across South Asia. Demanding ‘Hijra’ which literally means ‘go to Assam’, Zawahiri recently released a video message expressing concern for all security agencies.

“AQIS is a reality. Al-Qaeda’s publication of a quarterly magazine in Bangla is alarming as it targets the Bangla-speaking minority population of Bangladesh, West Bengal and Assam. Al-Qaeda is expanding in Upper Assam and now in Dhubri, Goalpara. , has not been limited to districts like Barpeta and South Assam,” said Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Director General of Police, Assam.

“Militant organizations are slowly trying to target Assam. They are entering the state through Bangladesh. They are trying to incite the Muslim youth of the state by teaching ‘Hadith’.” .

As many as 20 people suspected of belonging to the Ansar-ul-Bangla team in Assam were arrested for carrying out jihadi activities in the last three months.

Assam Police on Wednesday arrested 22-year-old Abbas Ali from Pakhiora village in Goalpara district for allegedly harboring a member of Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) in his house, busting a sleeper cell module. .

“During investigations, we found that Ali had sheltered a fugitive Bangladeshi national named Mahbub, who is a core member of ABT. He also provided a SIM card and logistical support to Mahbub. We are investigating whether Is Ali related to any other people from ABT,” said Luna Sonowal, Additional Superintendent of Police, Bongaigaon Assam.

“Mahboob is a key member of ABT who provided training and was involved in radicalization. We are looking to reach Mahboob through Ali. Mahboob trained youth in the area in psychological warfare, taught them religious documents. and did physical exercise. It helped form the first level of sleeper cells in the area,” said Sonowal.

According to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the rise of Islamic fundamentalist groups operating in the state could be due to the ‘deterioration’ of the situation of terrorist groups in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s government has recently been cracking down on radical groups, forcing them to spread into neighboring Assam.

“These modules work very slowly. They first try to reach people as social workers and religious preachers and then convert them to the jihadist ideology. However, in Assam they have not been very successful because generally But the society is not accepting it and is alerting the police about such activities,” said Hiranath, Additional DGP (Special Branch), Assam Police.

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