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Most madrasas have nothing to do with terrorism, intel agencies tell MHA
But red flag some operating in border areas of West Bengal and Assam, and have foreign teachers
Thursday November 13, 2014 7:22 AM, Agencies

Though red-flagging some madrasas operating in the border areas of West Bengal and Assam, a discreet survey by the Narendra Modi government has found that majority of such institutions don't subscribe to jihadi ideology or or indulge in any kind of anti-national activities.

Indian Madrasa

The madrasas red-flagged in the survey purportedly instituted by an arm of the security establishment, are the ones where the teachers are foreigners, mainly from Bangladesh, and they have been found to be involved in 'some kind of' dubious activities.

"Many of these seminaries have foreign teachers, mostly Bangladeshis who have worked closely with elements associated with outfits such as Jamaat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh. They digress from the normal religious teachings and 'correct' interpretation of Islam by madrasas having Indian teachers, and highlight the alleged atrocities on Indian Muslims through videos and other provocative material.

"The aim is to exploit the feeling of alienation or discontentamong young impressionable Muslims, with the larger purpose of radicalizing them to take up jihadi terror," said a senior official who has perused the report on madrasas across the country.

Officials further said they were in the process of verifying the identity and the nationality of teaching staff in madarsas in the border areas as they could belong to neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan, and might be working here on fake identity papers.

In a year-long study, conducted secretly by a combination of central agencies, it was found that though there was no regulation on the number of madrasas and the content they taught, nothing objectionable was found in their teaching.

"But, even in these areas, Indian madrasa teachers are not involved in any kind of jihadi activities", the report, submitted to the Union home ministry last month, said.

The report is based on the probe into madrasas aligned to Deobandi, Ahl-e-Hadis, Jamat-e-Islami and Barelvi schools of thought.

According to the data available with the government, there are around 1,700 madrasas along the Bangladesh border, all located within 20 kilometres of the International border (IB) in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.

One of the other reasons attributed to the mushrooming of these religious institutions as per the report was "unemployment".

The report said that since most education in the madrasas is religious and not up to date with the curriculum being taught in other schools, the children studying there did not have any employment opportunities.

The activities of madrasas, especially those in West Bengal, came into focus after the Burdwan bomb blast. The NIA probe into the case had unearthed a deep rooted trans-border terror machinery that was at work through some of the madrasas in the state.

While addressing a conference in Kolkata Wednesday, Mahmood Madani, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's general secretary, defended the madrasas and said that if there is anything suspicious about the institutions, they will help shut them down and get the guilty arrested.

"Investigating agencies have a duty to suspect. But till they have gathered proof on the matter, they should not leak such information. Their first mistake is that they have leaked on the basis of suspicion. Four months later, they will say that there is nothing. But the damage is done. It will be a small news item then, while right now, it's a headline," he said.

"If there are such madrasas, tell us... we will not let them run," he added.

"Moreover, if there are (suspicious) madrasas or persons, whose responsibility is it? We accept it as our responsibility. If there are such elements, we will fight them.

"But what is the responsibility of the agencies and the Home Ministry? Only to make statements that there is something suspicious? If you are suspicious, catch them. We will go with you. But your method is incorrect", he said.


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