The Tarun Gogoi government in Assam has blamed the frequent visits of religious leaders from West Bengal for spreading “fundamentalism and radicalism in the mind of certain Muslim men living in the state.” In a status report submitted to the Union Home Ministry regarding the extent of the presence of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in Assam, the state government has also said that the only woman arrested by them revealed during interrogation that “girls as young as 11-year-old were being sent to Simulia madrasa in Burdwan and were given firing practice.”
The Assam government sent a formal note to the Centre, requesting a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the arrest of eight JMB members from the state in October. Gogoi has also written a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying that Al Qaeda posed a serious threat to the state.
The report, accessed by The Indian Express, also says, “The wind of radical Islamic thought that is trying to sweep over the mind of the people susceptible to these thoughts is likely to have a very strong and deep-rooted impact on the law and order scenario of the state. These radicalists have gone to the extent of indoctrinating these people that all Muslims must follow the Saudi Arabian practices. In July 2014, there was a clash between radicalists and locals centring round the issue of holding Eid Namaz coinciding with Saudi Arabia one day ahead of the local schedule. Saikhul (already arrested) conducted this namaz.”
Sujena Begum (22), the only woman JMB member arrested from Assam, revealed that it was her husband Sahanur Alom (still absconding) who got her admitted to the Simulia madrasa in Burdwan in 2012. “She found few girls in the age group of 11-18 who belonged to her locality. There she and her inmates were imparted training in physical activities and arms handling. According to her there were no students from the vicinity of madrasa and most of these students were from West Bengal, Jharkhand and a few from Assam.”
The report said that JMB members conducted “dharma mahasabhas” where these “religious leaders propagate the ideologies in a very intricate manner so as to indoctrinate people, particularly the young generation who are studying in madrasas. One Hafiz, reportedly a Bangladesh national, but now a resident of West Bengal, used to visit these dharma mahasabhas where he propagated the hardline trachings that are followed in Saudi Arabia.