The Assam Police on Sunday said Bangladeshi clerics are violating tourist visa norms by organising religious meets in remote areas of the state.
A day after 17 Bangladeshi nationals were arrested in Assam’s Biswanath district, the police said that clerics from the neighbouring country are radicalising young men of the state. The Assam government had written to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which deals with the issuance of visas, about such incidents and many Bangladeshi clerics have been banned from the state for repeatedly violating visa norms.
“There is a tendency, especially in Lower Assam and Barak Valley, to invite Bangladeshi clerics on tourist visas for religious preaching. These clerics are violating the rules of the tourist visas issued to them by radicalising young men of the state,” senior Assam Police officer Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said.
Led by a man named Syed Ashraful Alam, a group of 17 Bangladeshi nationals were arrested from the remote Baghmari area in the Gingia region of Biswanath district for allegedly carrying out religious preaching.
“We have told them that Assam Police will be strict. The 17 who were arrested had come to Assam on tourist visas but did not visit any of the main attractions in Assam. All they did was preach their religion,” Mr Mahanta added. “Religious preaching violated the norms of the visas issued to them.”
While in custody, the leader of the group, Syed Ashraful Alam, told reporters, “We have relatives here, and we’re visiting their places.”
The 17 arrested foreign nationals had visited Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan and also places in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district before coming to Assam.
“A lot of Bangladeshi clerics have been banned from coming to Assam because they repeatedly violated tourist visa norms. Radicalisation through these preachings is neither good for Assam nor India,” Mr Mahanta said.
The police official said the Assam government will write to the MEA again regarding such incidents.
“In this case, it is still too early. But we will write,” Mr Mahanta said.