Police verification, registration to be must for imams from outside: Assam CM
The Assam government’s move comes after the arrest of 25 persons in the past 4 months with links to Bangladesh-based terror outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which is associated with the Al Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS)
The Assam government will soon make police verification and online registration mandatory for imams of mosques and madrasa teachers from outside the state, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.
The move follows arrest of 25 persons including Bangladeshi nationals in the past four months with links to Bangladesh-based terror outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which is associated with the Al Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
On Saturday, police in Goalpara district arrested two imams, Abdus Subhan (43) and Jalaluddin Sheikh (49), who were with two different mosques in the district, and recovered incriminating documents, phones and SIM cards linking them with jihadi outfits like ABT and AQIS.
“Two persons with jihadi links had been arrested. One of them has been found to be a kingpin who besides working as an imam was involved in spreading terror network,” Sarma told journalists on Monday.
“We have prepared some standard operating procedures (SOPs) through which residents will have to inform local police about new imams who are from outside the area, so that police can verify their antecedents before they take up work,” he added.
Sarma said that the state government will also start a portal through which imams and teachers of private madrasas who come from outside Assam will have to get themselves registered. The chief minister didn’t mention when the SOPs or the portal will become operational.
“We have found evidence of logistic support given to other jihadis by the two arrested imams. They were also recruiting people for new jihadi sleeper cells in Goalpara and were getting logistical support from AQIS and ABT,” Goalpara superintendent of police VV Rakesh Reddy said.
“Both of them were produced in court on Sunday and have been remanded to seven days police custody. The two imams were residents of Goalpara and not from outside the state,” he added.
Earlier this month, chief minister Sarma claimed that the state has become a hotbed for Islamic fundamentalism and five ‘jihadi’ modules with links to Al Qaida-affiliated terror outfits in Bangladesh have been busted in the past four months.
Sarma said that according to available intelligence, at least six ABT members from Bangladesh had entered India illegally around 2016-2017 and have been creating terror modules and sleeper cells by indoctrinating local youths in Assam about ‘jihadi’ ideology.
While one of them, who was working as an Arabic teacher as well as an imam in a mosque in Barpeta district, has been arrested, there is no trace yet of the other five, he added.
“Interestingly, the hub of all jihadi activities, as of now, appears to be ‘madrasas’. I am not generalising, but whoever has been arrested till date have had some connection with ‘madrasas’ or were acting as preachers in some mosque,” Sarma said.
“These people were working as preachers in mosques—as a cover job—their aim was to wage jihad against India and establish ‘shariat’ law. Several training camps were organised by these people especially during Covid times. They were trained in tradecraft (techniques/technology used in modern espionage), radicalisation, indoctrination, gun training and bomb making,” he added.
Get Current Updates on India News, Rajya Sabha Election 2024 Live, Gaganyaan Mission Astronauts along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world