Alleging that the Burdwan blast incident was being used by certain circles with vested interests to malign the entire madrasa system and those associated with it, speakers under the banner of the state unit of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind organised a rally in Burdwan on Monday to condemn the attack on madrasas as breeding ground for terror activities.
Claiming that such attacks on madrasas will not help the community, Siddiqullah Chowdhury, general secretary of the state committee of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind said no madrasa in West Bengal should be closed down either on account of panic or as an administrative measure. Urging all madrasas to resume normal classes and teachings, Chowdhury said any attack on madrasas will have serious repercussions.
“Some bearded criminals are involved in the Burdwan bomb blast. But this incident of criminals should not be used to malign an entire madrasa system,” Chowdhury said, while demanding exemplary punishment for the culprits. He added that people linked to madrasas should take a vow that no untoward incident be allowed to be perpetrated in these.
Chowdhury said that the previous government under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee fell soon after he described illegal madrasas as cradle of terrorist activities that spewed anti-national elements, adding that the present Mamata Banerjee-led government will also have to face the same fate if it does not restrain the police excesses. “You do not need to take shelter behind a madrasa to indulge in a subversive activity. One can do it from any platform,” he said.
The Muslim leader said if one goes by the BJP’s analysis of five to seven per cent of Muslims in madrasas to be involved in “jihadi activity” in West Bengal, this would imply that no less than 15 lakh Muslims have a “jihadi” background. “These are dangerous utterances,” Siddiquallah warned, adding that these could alienate the entire community.
Earlier, Rafiqul, a spokesperson of the All India United Democratic Front, said it was pointless to malign the entire madrasa system. “The land of Bengal is the land of democracy and communal harmony. It should not be vitiated by narrow political gains,” he said.
Maulana Imtiaz, a Burdwan-based leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind said a madrasa is no place for violence. “It preaches peace and amity. Muslims are as much patriotic and nationalist as any other citizen in the country,” Imtiaz said.
Asim Chatterjee, a former Naxalite, who joined the rally said Muslims should not think they are alone and assured them that thousands of Hindus will stand to support them if any attack was launched on their community.