Odisha enquiring into madrasa run by terror suspect

Bhubaneswar, Dec 17 (IANS) The Odisha government is enquiring into the legality of a madrasa or Islamic seminary in Cuttack run by Abdul Rehman, an Al Qaeda terror suspect arrested on Tuesday.

Odisha’s School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra on Thursday directed the district education officer (DEO) of Cuttack to submit a detailed report on the madrasa.

“I came to know that it was run privately by Rehman. We would verify whether the madrasa had proper documents. The DEO has been asked to submit an inquiry report. If any illegality is found, the madrasa would be shut down,” Mishra said.

The Odisha Urdu Board said the madrasa in question had not been recognised as per norms.

Rehman (37), a member of the Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) militant group, was arrested in Cuttack in a joint operation by Odisha and Delhi police, Bhubaneswar Police Commissioner R.P. Sharma told reporters on Wednesday.

Said to be a doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Darul Uloom Deoband (or Deoband Islamic University) in Saharanpur (UP), Rehman was running the madrasa in Tangi area of Cuttack district.

Sources said the residential madrasa run by Rehman had about 85 students of whom 80 were from Jharkhand.

He was also engaged in recruiting members for Al Qaeda, according to Delhi Police.

A Delhi court on Thursday remanded Rehman and another Al Qaeda suspect Zafar Masood in 12 days’ police custody.

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