Protests in Assam Over AIUDF'S Alleged Jihadi Links, Ajmal Refutes Charges
AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal
NEW DELHI: An IB report quoted by a section of media wherein it is alleged that the All India United Democratic Front(AIUDF) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind have been carefully picking Muslim youth in lower Assam and sending them to Bangladesh for undergoing training in Jihad has created a hue and cry across sections.
Various organisations today launched protests across Assam seeking investigations into the alleged role of the largest opposition party in Assam assembly (AIUDF) and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind in sending youths from lower Assam's Dhubri district for jihadi training in the neighbouring Bangladesh.
When a local channel broadcasted the report aired by a New Delhi-based news channel quoting the IB report, AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal rushed here today to "challenge the news” but in vain.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the BJP's youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad staged protests in Guwahati demanding a high-level inquiry by the Centre, Ajmal’s arrest and banning of the AIUDF.
Threatening that they would call a 12-hour Assam bandh on Friday if Ajmal wasn’t arrested within 48 hours, the Bajrang Dal burnt Ajmal's effigy in Guwahati.
The BJP supported the call. "After the Burdwan blast, we submitted a memorandum to Union home minister Rajnath Singh on October 22 claiming that AIUDF had links with jihadi activities," the party's state publicity chief, Dhrubajyoti Kalita, said. The party demanded that the AIUDF be banned and its MLAs and MPs suspended.
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha also burnt AIUDF leader’s effigy in Kokrajhar and Dhubri towns and demanded Ajmal's arrest and ban on the AIUDF.
The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) echoed a similar stance.
Demanding a proper inquiry into the media report and strong action against those found guilty of maintaining links with fundamentalist groups and Bangladeshi migrants, a statement by the union read "We demand demolition of activities of all fundamentalist groups, including al Qaida”.
The AASU even organised a rally in Kokrajhar and was supported by the Bodo Sahitya Sabha, the All Bodo Students' Union and the Gorkha Students' Union, among others.
Assam Public Works, a social organisation didn’t find the news any “new”. Abhijeet Sharma of the organisation said that AIUDF's link to jihadi activities was not really new, adding that they would hand over details of jihadi activities in Assam since 2007 to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in New Delhi on November 12.
"We had published details of 36 jihadi organisations and their activities in Assam through a press meet in December 2007. The Assam government and police kept quiet on the issue because of vote bank politics. But now Assam police, mainly DGP Khagen Sharma, are talking about the issue, which is a good sign. We request Assam police to take strong action against jihadi organisations and the AIUDF," he said.
On the other hand, AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal who is also the chief of Assam State Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind while speaking to reporters reiterated the “anti-terror” stand of AIUDF and said that his party would send a legal notice to the New Delhi-based television channel soon "to prove the truth".
"This is a political conspiracy by forces which are afraid of the AIUDF's growing popularity ahead of the 2016 Assembly election in Assam. Those who are demanding my arrest today must be ready for arrest if the allegations are proved wrong," he said.
Ajmal, who won the Dhubri Lok Sabha seat for two consecutive terms, added, "Our three MPs (including himself) and eight MLAs will visit New Delhi tomorrow. We have sought appointments with the President, the Prime Minister's Office, the home minister and the IB chief. We will request them to clarify the charges and will demand a thorough inquiry by a top agency like NIA."
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has acknowledged the presence of jihadi activities in the state but denied any knowledge of the AIUDF's alleged links, PTI has reported.
Gogoi said that his government might hand over the probe of the Barpeta case, in which six persons (suspected members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh) were arrested from Barpeta district in connection with the blast at Burdwan in Bengal on October 2 to the NIA.
"ISI activities, jihadi activities are going on. There is no doubt about that. We do not deny that. But we do not have any evidence against the AIUDF," he told reporters in New Delhi after a meeting with home minister Rajnath Singh.
"I will find out," he said adding that his government's aim was to bring to book those who engaged in anti-national activities, jihadi activities or terrorist activities.