Are unregulated madrasas turning into terror hubs?
A bomb blast in Burdwan on October 2 has started a debate on madrasas emerging as nurseries of terror in West Bengal after police found that all four people arrested in connection with the blast met at madrasas.india Updated: Oct 10, 2014 02:17 IST
A bomb blast in Burdwan on October 2 has started a debate on madrasas emerging as nurseries of terror in West Bengal after police found that all four people arrested in connection with the blast met at madrasas.
Investigators visited a few madrasas suspecting many more links to emerge out of these religious schools, an issue that has since kicked up a political storm.
“There are madrasas that provide computer and English education along with religious training. They are doing a good job. But there are small, unrecognised ones mushrooming everywhere in Bengal, which are breeding grounds of terror, especially from Bangladesh,” said a senior home department official.
There are 614 madrasas under the West Bengal Board of Madrasa Education, while
thousands are spread all over the state.
Within days of coming to power, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that her government would grant recognition to 10,000 madrasas. People who run madrasas say it is wrong to label these schools as terror hubs just because of some individual cases.
“Why blame the institution when individuals are guilty? There have been Maoists who have hailed from Jadavpur University, Calcutta University and Delhi University. Do you call them terror hubs?” asks Siddiqullah Chowdhury, general secretary Jamiat-e Ulema-e-Hind that runs nearly 900 madrasas.
According to police sources, private madrasas are the real concern. Intelligence officials say these madrasas run as autonomous bodies that are funded by countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and the UAE.
Students in these institutions become soft targets for recruiters of different terror groups, who sometimes pose as teachers.
Those receptive to the indoctrination are taken to camps in Bangladesh, where they are trained to use weapons and make bombs. Some talented recruits are even taken to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan for advanced training, sources say.