Local residents of Pakhiura Char under Matia police station in Assam’s Goalpara district Tuesday demolished a madrasa for its alleged use for anti-national and ‘jihadi’ activities. The move came a few days after a cleric associated with the madrasa was held for alleged anti-national activities.
This is the fourth madrasa to be demolished in Assam in the last few weeks with the first three being pulled down by government authorities. The first one, Jamiul Huda Madrasa at Moirabari in Morigaon district, was demolished on August 4 by government authorities. On August 29, the authorities pulled down the Jamiul Huda Academy Madrasa at Howli in Barpeta district while on August 31, the Markazul Ma-Arif Quariayana Madrasa at Bongaigaon district was demolished.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Goalpara Superintendent of Police V V Rakesh Reddy said, “The residents of the area were agitated over the alleged anti-Indian and ‘jihadi’ activities involving the Darogar Alga Pakhiura Char Madrasa after Jalaluddin Sheikh, 49, a religious cleric associated with the madrasa was arrested on August 20 for his role in ‘jihadi’ activities.”
Reddy further said two members of the Bangladeshi Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the Ansarul Bangla Team (ABT), who were introduced as “knowledgeable teachers from West Bengal” to the unsuspecting locals, used to teach at the madrasa between 2020 and 2022. “Later, after the people came to know that they were involved in jihadi activities, the duo, Aminul Islam alias Usman and Jahangir Alam, absconded,” Reddy said.
“The locals developed strong resentment. The area, their village and the madrasa were used for jihadi activities without them having any knowledge about any of it. The madrasa being demolished was a strong message from the public that they are against anti-national elements and they don’t want to be party to such activities,” the official said.
Asked if the police had intervened or were deployed during the incident, the SP said, “It was a voluntary act. The district administration or police weren’t a part of it.”
Asked about the anti-Indian and ‘jihadi’ activities exposed through the crackdown on these madrasas, the SP said, “After busting the Goalpara module of the AQIS, we found clues that there were links between the Barpeta, Morigaon and Goalpara modules. There were similar training activities at the madrasas and a common Bangladeshi contact who tried to indoctrinate people and set up bases at various points of time.”
“We feel these terrorist sleeper cell modules were probably trained by the same group of people since similar kind of bases were being set up in different parts of Assam. The investigation has so far suggested that the modules were usually set up by establishing bases through madrasas or by using local logistics,” Reddy said.
He added, “Although one module was not aware about the presence of the other, they were not isolated. The madrasas were in touch only with a limited group of jihadists but the absconding AQIS members were aware of the bigger plan.”