A day after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the State is quickly turning into a hotbed of Jihadi activity, Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia said that All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLAs linked to terror by the crème de la crème of the State BJP must be investigated ‘once and for all.’
Saikia’s demand has been made against the backdrop of several BJP leaders (most notably, State Cabinet Ministers Pijush Hazarika and Jayantamalla Baruah) linking the Badruddin Ajmal-led political outfit to Jihad elements in the wake of a crackdown on terror modules.
Saikia recalled that in 2014, the BJP and AGP made a huge hue-and-cry after sections of media claimed intelligence reports said AIUDF and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind have been selecting Muslim youth and sending them to Bangladesh for undergoing training in Jihad.
‘As recently as 2021, reigning Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma accosted Ajmal of collecting funds from fundamentalist organizations in the name of charity in order to run his party,’ the Nazira MLA further pointed out, adding that a high-level investigation should be carried out against the accused MLAs and the guilty, if any, must be punished in accordance.
Underlining that the Congress party does not support terror of any kind, be it by a minority or majority community, Saikia reminded that ‘two of our own leaders – former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, died at the hands of terrorists.’
While asking the State government to intensify search operations against 5 suspected Jihadis who are allegedly on the run, Saikia further urged the State government to take action against any form of terrorism. ‘We will support whatever decision is taken by the government,’ he added.
At the same time, Saikia spoke out against commoners who have allegedly been harassed in the name of Jihad.
‘There are some who are suspected of being foreigners simply because their mother tongue isn’t Assamese’, he said, before pointing to ‘unfair’ arrests made under the stringent UAPA Act.
‘It is most unfortunate that people have been put in jail for making Facebook posts, while a Minister is still roaming around despite asking for forgiveness from the ULFA(I),’ said Saikia.
He was making an oblique reference to Sanjoy Kishan, Welfare of Tea Tribes Minister, for making an apology to ULFA(I). Kishan was later served a show cause notice by Chief Minister Biswa Sarma.
The Nazira MLA further appealed to the Assam police to clarify ‘how many Jihadis were arrested, what activities they have been up to which has harmed Assam, and what sort of punishments have been meted out to them,’ so that the public can ‘prepare itself better against terror.’
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