India: Madrassa raids in southern state irk Muslim clergy

Hyderabad, 31 August (AKI/Asian Age) - The madrassas or Islamic seminaries in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have accused the state government of being anti-Muslim after police raided a well-known Islamic seminary in Hyderabad late on Wednesday night.

Two more madrassas, including a girls’ seminary, were raided on Thursday afternoon.

The police, however described the raids as exercises undertaken as part of the investigation into the twin blasts in Hyderabad earlier this month in which 42 people were killed and more than 60 wounded.

A police team carried out the Wednesday night raid on the 25-year-old Darul Uloom Hyderabad madrassa which is managed by the eminent Islamic scholar Maulana Hameeduddin Aquil Hussami.

Most of the students in the madrassas are below 14 years old and several are orphans.

The midnight swoop angered the Muslim clergy, who said the police was "terrorising Muslims and branding them as terrorists".

The police returned to the madrassa on Thursday morning to verify the records.

"A madrassa is an educational institution," said Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, the general secretary of the Deeni Madaris Board. "It is open to all. Raiding a madrasa in the dead of night will send wrong signals and create communal frenzy."

The Madaris Board, the umbrella body of madrassas in Andhra Pradesh, held an emergency meeting on Thursday evening to denounce the police action as highhanded.

It said several young students were traumatised by the presence of the police late in the night.

The board, comprising senior Islamic clergy, wondered what had forced the police to raid the madrassas during the night when they could visit them without trouble in the morning.

Representatives of over three dozen top madrassas participated in the meeting and decided to call on the state's chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy after Friday prayers to lodge their protest.

They also warned of a severe Muslim backlash if the state government led by the Congress Party did not desist from such actions.

"Madrassas create responsible and God-fearing citizens," said Maulana Hameeduddin Aquil, who chaired the meeting.

"No terrorist has ever been rounded up from a madrassa in India," he said. "If we come across any anti-national element, we will be the first ones to hand them over to the police."

Meanwhile, the police on Thursday afternoon raided the Darul Uloom Anwarul Huda madrassa and the Jamia Ayesha Siddiqa Lil Banat, a girls’ religious school at Misriganj, further angering the Islamic clergy.


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