April 2002 News

Madrassas mushrooming along Pak border

22 April 2002
The Hindustan Times
Amit Sharma

Bikaner: Indian intelligence agencies are in a spot over the mushrooming of some 50 madrassas and mazaars in sensitive areas in Bikaner, Anupgarh, Suratgarh and Sriganagnagar sectors along the Indo-Pak border in Rajasthan. These institutions which have allegedly sprung up over the last two months appear to be the handiwork of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), according to IB officials. Senior intelligence officials currently on a tour of the area say they are suspicious as the villages are just a stone’s throw from the International Border. The officials have sent a detailed report to the Centre, seeking “necessary action”. “A similar report mentioning the names of border villages housing such Islamic institutions, allegedly established with an objective to disturb the demographic set-up along the border apart from keeping a tab on the movement and activities of Indian Army troops, was sent to the Rajasthan Government. But it evoked no response,” they alleged. The survey mentions villages like Mahajan, Hanumangarh, Suratgarh, Srikaranpur, Sriganganagar, Raisinghwallah, Manoria, Lailamajnoo in Rajasthan besides Mamdoot, Salemshah and few others in the Fazilka-Ferozepur sectors in Punjab. The report says there were only 20 such institutions in March. The other disturbing trend is the emergence of mazaars in these areas. Many such structures are reported to have sprung up in villages like Majnoo, 27 (A) etc, just a few yards away from Indian border posts. Needless to say, these can serve as vantage points to keep a tab on the activities of the Indian forces. Most mazaars have sprung up in the wheat and mustard fields. And contrary to tradition, they don’t have the name of any saint or person inscribed on them. The Hindustan Times team found that in many cases even the villagers did not know how they were established and by whom.


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