Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday, 22 August, said that all imams (religious teachers and clerics) at madrasas and mosques will be required to register themselves on a government portal if they come from outside the state. They will also be required to go through police verification.
The new rules follow a series of arrests of two such clerics who have alleged links to Al Qaeda-affiliated terror outfits in Bangladesh.
"One of those arrested, who worked as an Imam in a mosque, was the kingpin. He had expanded the Jihadi network in many villages. Six Bangladeshi nationals had entered Assam for expanding the Jihadi network. Out of six Bangladeshi nationals, Assam police have arrested one and five are still absconding. Assam police will continue its operation," Sarma was quoted as saying by an Indian Express report.
"We have made a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) – if any new imam comes to the village, the villagers should report it to the local police station, and the police will verify the identity. After being verified by the police, people can hire him as an Imam. The Muslim community of Assam is extending their support to us on this."Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
He added that a government portal would be made for registration of imams and madrasa teachers.
"Those who are from Assam, do not need to register their names in that portal, people from outside will have to register their names in the portal," he said.
'Going Forward, Master Directory of All Madrasas'
"Going forward, we want to create a master directory of all the madrassas being run in Assam. A tough job, as many of them are unregistered and unauthorised," Assam DGP Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta tweeted.
"Our objective – to prevent Anti-India, Jihadi elements from utilising the madrasas for their nefarious fundamentalist purposes," Mahanta added.
Chief Minister Sarma had recently called Assam a hotbed of "jihadi activities" in light of the arrest of two clerics in Assam's Goalpara district. The two clerics have been accused of radicalising young Muslim men and having links with terror outfit Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent. The police have arrested them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)