However, while the other three madrasas were demolished by government authorities, the Goalpara madrasa was destroyed by locals, who alleged that the premises was being used to promote 'jihadi' activities by two Bangladeshi nationals, namely Aminul Islam and Jahangir Alom.
News of the madrasa, located in Pakhiura Char, allegedly being used for such activities came to light after the arrest of one of its clerics, Jalaluddin Sheikh, who had engaged the two Bangladeshis as teachers in the institution, the police said.
A police official also claimed that the accused persons are members of the Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), as per news agency PTI.
They reportedly taught at the madrasa between 2020-2022 and are currently absconding.
'Getting a Bad Name Because of Them': Local Who Helped Demolish Madrasa
A local said that villagers had appointed the two teachers without the knowledge that they were allegedly connected to terror outfits. The accused persons had already fled from the area by the time the locals came to know about it.
"It's because of them (the accused) that we are suffering and getting a bad name. The Muslim population of this village is not associated with any jihadi activity. We are poor people trying to make a living with lot of hard work," the local said.
He also said that he didn't want his village to be associated with terror activities in any way, adding that that was why a group of them demolished the madrasa and the residence of the teachers.
The villager also said that the accused had been appointed without any verification of their real identity.
"it was our mistake. They had said that they were from Cooch Behar in West Bengal," he added.
'They Were Not Madrasas but Al Qaeda Offices': CM Sarma
Since August, three madrasas have been demolished for allegedly engaging in "anti-national" activities in Assam's Morigaon, Barpeta, and Bongaigaon districts.
Following the demolition of the Goalpara madrasa, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that all such structures that have been demolished so far were actually Al Qaeda offices.
"All demolished madrasas were not madrasas but Al Qaeda offices. We demolished 2-3 and now the public is coming to demolish others," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"The Muslim community is coming to demolish them, saying that they don't want a madrasa where the work of Al Qaeda is done. That changes the madrasa's character," Sarma added.
Last month, the chief minister had claimed that Assam had become a "hotbed of jihadi activities," adding that the "indoctrination" of Muslim youths in madrasas by Imams from outside the state was alarming.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI, and Anjana Dutta.)
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