GUWAHATI: Assam Police Thursday demolished an illegal madrassa run by an alleged “funding handler” of al-Qaida affiliate Ansar ulIslam at Moriabari in Morigaon district, making it the fifth suspected sleeper cell of the outfit to be busted in the state in as many months.
Mufti Mustafa, allegedly associated with al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the brain behind the madrassa, had been arrested on July 27. Slain al-Qa ida “emir” Ayman al-Zawahiri had announced the formation of AQIS in 2014.
CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said the existence of at least five AQIS modules was proof of Assam having become the hotbed of “jih adi activities”.
A total of 28 AQIS members have been arrested in the state so far, including a Bangladeshi national. The latter was one among six members suspected to have infiltrated the state in 2016 to spread the outfit’s wings.
“The hub of activities of all five modules of AQIS busted in the past five months have been found to be madrassas. It may hurt a section of people, but I am not generalising. Wherever we have caught AQIS sleeper cells, they have been found to have links with a madrassa or imams in masjids. ”
The CM appealed to the “peace-loving Muslim population of the state” not to “entertain any imam if he is from outside your area and instead report him to the nearest police station”. He advised parents of children studying in madrassas to v isit these institutions frequently and “monitor” what their wards were being taught. Sarma said the information that led to five alleged AQIS cells being busted came from Muslims.
Assam has al ready shut about 600 state-run madrassas and turned them into regular schools. About 1,000 private madrassas are still in operation. The CM said surveillance on these madrassas was being stepped up. The Moriabri madrassa was demolished under the Disaster Management Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.