As the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials probe the Assam connection to the Burdwan blast case, the government has discovered the state has too many madrasas with doubtful credentials.
These unregistered madrasas are suspected to have discarded the traditional Hanafi school of thought to adopt the radical Ahle-Hadis or Ahle-Hadith adhered to by most jihad outfits.
On Monday and Tuesday, NIA sleuths searched several villages in western Assam’s Barpeta district. Several bank accounts and photographs of quack dentist Sahanur Alam — who is allegedly involved with the Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh — in various disguises were seized.
A pyramid burqa marketing network of potentially radical distributors was also unearthed. The officials did not elaborate but chief minister Tarun Gogoi said the suspected jihadis were running a “discounted burqa business”.
“JMB has been trying to develop its network in some key areas in Assam, where indoctrination of youths in jihadi philosophy is in a nascent stage,” Pallab Bhattacharya, additional director general (special branch), said.
Police officials said the radicalisation drive was through unregistered madrasas following the Ahle-Hadis school of thought. Most of these madrasas are off the radar as they are on river-created sandbars difficult to access.
According to Fazlur Rahman, director of the state’s madrasa education, there are 663 registered madrasas.
“Nobody knows how many unrecognised local-level madrasas we have in the state, but their number is very large. We don’t know what type of education they impart,” he told HT.
The bulk of some 25 lakh people living on Assam’s sandbars them are migrant Muslims, and they little or no access to roads, electricity and modern education.
“Under such circumstances, madrasa students can easily become targets of anti-national outfits,” Rahman said.