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CM Sarma asks Assam’s villagers to report any unknown imam; portal soon for outsiders

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said villagers will have to inform the local police if they see any unknown imam (Muslim clerics) in their locality. Sarma said this is part of the new standard operating protocol (SoP) issued and a portal is also being set up for those who are coming to madrassas (Muslim religious schools) from outside the state.

The chief minister said imams from Assam would not have to register themselves in the portal. His statement came following the arrest of two clerics allegedly involved in radicalising Muslim youths in the state and having links with terror outfit Al-Qaeda, were arrested from Goalpara district.

“We have made some SoP that if any imam comes to your village and you do not know him, immediately inform the police station. They will verify, and only after that, the imams can stay. Our Muslim community of Assam is helping us in this work,” Biswa was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“We’re also making a portal for Imam and other people who are coming to madrasa from outside the state. 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 added.

According to reports, the two imams were taken into custody on August 20 and arrested a day later for their alleged links with Bangladeshi outfits engaged in radicalising youth.

Police have registered a case against the duo under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). An investigation is underway, police said.

The arrested men were identified as Abdus Sobahan, a cleric of Tinkonia Shantipur Masjid under Mornoi police station and Jalaluddin, a cleric of Tilapara Masjid under Matia police station.

Superintendent of police VV Rakesh Reddy said both the arrested clerics have been engaged in radicalising youths and in jihadi activities since the last three to four years. “We have also found that they have links with several jihadis arrested in the state earlier and another who was apprehended in West Bengal,” Reddy said.

Police have seized several books, posters and a mobile phone used to contact jihadis in Bangladesh from the two men.

Sarma recently said Assam was becoming a hotbed of “jihadi activities”. Five modules having links with Bangladesh’s proscribed Ansarul Islam were busted in five months.

(With inputs from agencies)

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