Creating a Muslim bogey?

IN Media Practice | 16/09/2002
such an association of maulvis and madrasahs was there, we would have known it

such an association of maulvis and madrasahs was there, we would have known it. It does not exist here." Mufti Siraj Ahmed, President, Rabeta Madaris-e-Arabiya, Manipur (affiliated to Darul Uloom Deoband) echoes the same observation, adding that neither the curiosity called AMMMA existed in the past, nor does it exist at present anywhere in the state.

Maulana Nooruddin Mudaris of Madrasah Alia Manipur, the state¿s oldest madrasah founded in 1944, and Maulana Nizamuddin Nadwi, deputy director of Madrasah Darul Uloom, the state¿s largest madrasah, also deny the existence of the said association.

Mufti Salatur-Rahman, director, Institute of Islamic Studies, Wangoi, told MG that the said association was only a figment of The Pioneer reporter¿s feverish imagination since such an association had never existed in Manipur. The question is: How could anyone make a "donation" to a non-existent association?"

It quotes the police in Manipur. "A top officer in the police headquarters of Imphal, who preferred to be anonymous, told this correspondent, "We have no knowledge about the said donation, and there were no alarm bells ringing here concerning it. There was no such case." Another top officer, MK Das, Inspector General of Police (Intelligence), said that he did not have any idea about the alleged donation. Indeed, he was surprised to see The Pioneer report."

The Pioneer’s says there are of 2,002 madrasahs in Assam,  the Milli Gazette’s investigation shows that only 275 madrasahs are there. 


"There are only 12 madrasahs in entire Manipur, and all of them are so short of funds that they are not able to complete building construction. Unlike Hindu and Christian religious places, which come up in no time, Muslim religious institutional buildings take decades to come to a semblance of completion. "I have been seeing this mosque at the heart of Imphal (just behind the police headquarters) for years. It is yet to complete the construction. If they had funds, they would have completed it," says MK Das. 

The report adds,


"In Manipur security officers give a clean chit to the madrasahs. "As per official records, there is no link between ISI and madrasah, and other Muslim organisations," says a top officer in the police headquarters in Imphal. "No such link has been established," agrees state’s IGP (Intelligence). The IGP says that they monitor the activities of madrasahs, and find that "they are only imparting religious education under full protection of the Constitution. They pose no threat from security point of view." 

ISI has not been able to make any access to these institutions. "But certainly Meitei militant outfits have their bases in Bangladesh," adds the official in the police headquarters."


The Pioneer’s   April report  says probes by Intelligence Bureau sleuths found that Bhuran was funding the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) at Imphal’s Paona Bazaar. The Milli Gazette says there is no SIO presence in the entire state of Manipur, no office of the organisation in the long stretch of Imphal’s completely Hindu-dominated Paona Bazaar. "Sources in the Manipur police headquarters also inform MG that as per their record the SIO does not exist in Manipur at present."


So does one believe the Pioneer or the Milli Gazette? The Hoot asked the editor of an Imphal  newspaper for his views on the contradictary facts presented  by the two publications.


His reply is that he fully endorses what the police officers quoted here have said, and does not disagree with  the findings of the investigation made by the Milli Gazette. He makes the point that there are two Muslim underground organizations, as the police say, but they are insignificant either in their reach or ideology. He adds that journalists in the region have not considered the issue worth a story, and that the paranoia sought to be whipped up by such reporting is dangerous.

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