SOURCE : PTI
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that a total of 114 “Jihadis” have been arrested from different parts of the state in the last 10 years, including 40 this year.
In a written reply to a query by Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed in the Assam Assembly, Sarma said that out of the 114 “Jihadis”, 65 were members of banned terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and nine were from Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).
The list also includes 40 cadres of the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) who were arrested since March this year, the chief minister said in a separate reply to BJP legislator Terash Gowalla. “Out of the 114 cadres, the cases of 23 arrested people were transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for probe. Of the remaining 91 nabbed people, the cases of 54 were still pending investigation, while chargesheets were filed in the cases of the remaining 37 and they were undergoing trial,” he said.
In a separate query by Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia, Sarma said that 84 people have been arrested for alleged “Jihadi activities” since the BJP-led government came to power in the state in 2016. He said that of the people arrested in the last six years, 10 were associated with madrassas and they tried to influence people by giving lectures in mosques, madrassas and other religious congregations.
“They also distributed Jihadi-related literature and used conversation apps like Omemo and Blabbr to maintain contact with each other. So far, no people have been killed in such cases,” Sarma said. He also said that Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Morigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara districts have been identified as hubs of “Jihadi activities” in the state.
“Foreign nationals are involved in Jihadi activities. Out of such countries, Bangladesh is the most prominent one,” Sarma told the House. Out of the 40 people arrested this year, two are women hailing from Morigaon and Dhubri districts, he said.
Asked about the definition of a Jihadi, Sarma said, “The member of a fundamentalist group who supports terrorism by use of weapons is called a Jihadi.” “Waging of war by Muslim fundamentalist organisations against opponents of Islam, citing the reason that the religion is in danger, is called Jihad. The members of such fundamentalist groups are called Jihadis,” he said. Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio, said Meghalaya’s North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) has completed mapping of ‘char’ (vegetative islands) areas across Assam.
The ‘char’ areas in the state are mostly inhabited by Bengali-speaking Muslims. The NESAC study was carried out to study the chars, mainly their stability during monsoon, over a 30-year period from 1988 using multi-spectral satellite data.
The report also tried to identify and map the ‘chars’ having settlement for the year 2017-18.