Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday claimed that madrassas that have been demolished in the state recently were offices of the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda, reported ANI.

The chief minister made the statement a day after residents of Goalpara district demolished a madrassa as a cleric associated with it was arrested for allegedly being involved in anti-national activities.

While the residents razed the madrassa in Golapara, the Assam government has demolished three other such institutions in a month since the police stepped up their operations against alleged modules of Ansarullah Bangla Team, a banned Bangladesh-based terror outfit that is said to have links with Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, or AQIS.

This was after last month Sarma said that these institutions were being used as hubs for terrorism.

“All demolished madrasas were not madrassas but Al-Qaeda offices,” Sarma claimed on Wednesday. “We demolished two-three [of them] and now the public is coming to demolish others. The Muslim community is coming to demolish, saying that they do not want a madrassa where the work of Al-Qaeda is done.”

On September 3, the police had arrested two persons on suspicion of being members of the AQIS and Ansarullah Bangla Team in the Goalpara district. They have been identified as Abdus Subhan and Jalaluddin Sheikh, imams of two different madrassas in Goalpara.

Superintendent of Police VV Rakesh Reddy told ANI that the residents were surprised to find that one of the persons arrested was a teacher at the madrassa.

“People have given a strong message that they do not support jihadi activities,” he said.

Following the arrest on September 3, Reddy had said that officials found incriminating material related to the Al-Qaeda, Jihadi elements, posters and books from the houses of the two clerics.

He had claimed that Subhan and Sheikh had confessed to being members of the AQIS. Reddy had also claimed that the two imams had given shelter two terrorists, who are absconding.

“The arrested persons had organized one Dharma Sabha in December 2019 at Sundarpur Tilapara Madrassa under the Matia police station where many Bangladeshi nationals with linkages to AQIS were invited as guest speakers,” he had claimed.