The Government of Assam will soon begin monitoring the functioning of about 2,500 private madrassahs in the state, aimed at plugging the holes through which several Islamic terrorist elements, like the frequent Bangladeshi nuisance of late, had entered these religious schools in the garb of teachers in the last few months. There was a meeting between DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Assam Secondary Education Director Mamta Hojai and representatives of five private madrassah education boards today, where the delegates decided that before engaging any teacher from outside the state, the madrassahs will have to seek police verification of the individual and that the distance between two madrassahs will have to be 3 km.
The meeting concluded with another decision that each madrassah must have a minimum of 100 enrolled students. Further, these private boards must upload the details of the madrassahs affiliated with them by 1 December.
Five private madrassah boards — All Assam Tanzim Madaris Qaumiya, All Assam Talimi Tarakkee Board, Madras Education Board All Hafis (Salafi), Adara Madaris Islamia and All Assam Ahle Sunat Madrasa — say they have accepted the government’s initiative but want the authority not to disrupt the Islamic study system in the madrassahs.
A spokesman of Assam Police said, “It has been made clear that no ‘jihadi’ can be allowed to take shelter in any madrassah in the state in the name of religious teachers.” The police have arrested 84 terror suspects in the state since 2016, out of which 10 were found to have links with madrassahs. Two Bangladeshi nationals, who were engaged in a madrassah in Goalpara district, are absconding.
The state government demolished three madrassahs in three districts in September after these were found to be used as hub of ‘jihadi’ activities by the arrested AQIS/ABT module.
Last year, the Assam government had shut down over 600 government-funded madrassahs and converted them into regular schools under the state board of education on the grounds that the state will no longer fund institutions offering religious teachings.
The general secretary of the biggest private board, All Assam Tanzim Madaris Qaumiya headed by MP Badruddin Ajmal, Abdul Qader Qashimi said that all the madrassah board representatives had welcomed the steps initiated by the state government. “Our appeal to the government is to allow us to continue with the practice of the theological study system in the madrassahs,” Qashimi said. He said that the details that the state government had sought included information about the land on which the madrassah is located and the teachers hired.
“While most of the land is either donated by people or purchased, there are some locations where madrassahs are functioning from government land. These madrassahs have either not applied for the settlement of the land or, especially in riverine areas, there is no land patta. We are seeking an appointment with the chief minister to request him to resolve these issues,” Qashimi said.