Normal life was crippled across Assam on Friday due to a 12-hour bandh called by the state units of BJP, Bajrang Dal, ABVP, VHP and several other organizations of the sangh parivar demanding immediate arrest of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) leader and Lok Sabha member Badruddin Ajmal over his alleged role in recruiting Muslim youths from Assam for jihadi training in Bangladesh.
Ajmal, also president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s state unit, however has denied the charges and demanded a high-level inquiry into the allegations. Currently in New Delhi, Ajmal is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday. He had already met Kiren Rijiju, MoS Home on Thursday.
While the 12-hour bandh was initially called by the Bajrang Dal, state units of the BJP, ABVP, VHP and Hindu Jagaran Manch also later extended support to it. The groups have also demanded a thorough probe into functioning of a section of madrasas in the state.
Shops, business establishments, banks and educational institutions remained closed across the state while attendance in government offices was thin. No public transport has plied till filing of the report. Volunteers of the groups calling the bandh tried to block movement of railway trains in different parts of the state.
The allegations against Ajmal, Lok Sabha member from Dhubri in western Assam, were first leveled by a New Delhi-based satellite TV news channel, but were soon picked up by the BJP and other sangh parivar organizations. Demonstrations against Ajmal and his party have rocked Assam for the past two days.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) too has joined the campaign and organized a torch rally today evening demanding a thorough investigation into the allegations. The regional party has blamed both, the former Congress-led regime and the present BJP-led NDA for the rise of fundamental forces and spread of jihadi tentacles to the state in the recent years.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) meanwhile has warned political parties not politicize the issue of jihadi activites. “It is a serious issue concerning the sovereignty and integrity of the country. Parties should not turn into a game of political mud-slinging,” said AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines