June 2002 News

Govt needs to get cracking on illegal Madrassas: IB report

5 June 2002
The Hindustan Times
Chandan Nandy

New Delhi: The Home Ministry is contemplating preparing a draft legislation to check the growth of unregistered madrassas following an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report which had recommended a tough law to tackle the menace. Soon after the September 11 attacks in the US, the IB was told to prepare a comprehensive status report and identify unregistered madrassas in the country. The agency submitted its findings to the Home Ministry in April. Thereafter, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was asked to procure Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's own blueprint to check the misuse of such institutions as centres of terrorist recruitment. Officials at the North Block are assessing the political and other implications of a draft legislation to curb the growth of such unregistered places of 'education and worship'. The IB has warned the Home Ministry that a tough law, 'though controversial, is required' to deal with the menace. Such a law would be different from the proposed amendments to the Foreign Currency Regulation Act (FCRA) aimed at choking the unrestricted flow of foreign funds for construction of madrassas and mosques, especially in sensitive border states. The situation is complicated further by the fact that not all states have specific laws stipulating government approval for construction of such buildings. But these institutions have even proliferated in states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, which have passed the requisite legislation for mandatory government clearance for raising such structures. The IB feels a Central law in this case will help. In a letter to North Block officials, the IB has said that its study 'unmistakably brings out the proliferation of madrassas and mosques in border areas'. While giving specific instances of 'misuse' of madrassas, the study has disclosed the names of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Saudi Arabian nationals who have taken active part in 'anti-India activities'. Some of the madrassas have been used as storehouses for arms, ammunition and explosives, and as centres for recruitment of youth for terrorist outfits, the report said. The study has also revealed that among the border states, West Bengal accounts for the maximum madrassas (2,116).


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