12:00 AM, March 31, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 31, 2009

Qawmi madrasas under watch

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The police headquarters have sent directives to all the district police chiefs to mount watch on Qawmi madrasas in the wake of the March 24 arms and ammo haul at a Bhola madrasa-cum-orphanage.
Sources at the police HQ say the directives were issued on March 28 asking the superintendents of police to watch activities of the Qawmi madrasas and other suspicious places.
"We have been asked to mount surveillance on the Qawmi madrasas to know whether any outsiders or even foreigners visit any institutions and whether any lessons or motivation on jihad is imparted there," says an SP seeking anonymity.
A police official in Bhola from the Rapid Action Battalion says they have already stepped up intelligence activities in all 115 Qawmi madrasas in the district.
The officers-in-charge (OCs) of a number of police stations outside the capital say they have already been instructed to enter any Qawmi madrasa if anything looks suspicious.
"Moreover, the authorities have also asked us to compel such madrasa authorities to demolish high boundary walls and barbed wire fences, if any," comments an OC.
Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad yesterday said they have issued directives to mount watch on Qawmi madrasas and other suspicious places.
He said the step has been taken to check whether the madrasas are really teaching or carrying out any fundamental or militant activities.
"There are some grey areas in Qawmi madrasas, since rules and regulations regarding their [Qawmi madrasas] syllabus and studies could not fully be implemented," the IGP has recently told a private satellite TV channel.
About the present state of militancy, Nur Mohammad said he does not think militants have any strong base; rather militancy is very much under control now.
As of 2006, there were around 40 lakh students in about 15,000 Qawmi madrasas, according to sources at Bangladesh Qawmi Madrasa Education Board.
Around two lakh teachers are employed in these madrasas.
Of these madrasas, 300 are under Bangladesh Qawmi Madrasa Education Board named Vefaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh at the Takmil (Master's degree) level, 200 at the Fazilat (Bachelor's) level, 200 at the sanaria ammah level, 1,000 at the Sanaria ammah (secondary), 2,000 at the Mutawassitah (lower secondary) level, 3,000 at the Ibtedayi (primary) level, 2,000 for Tahfeezul Quran and 30 at the level of tazbid wal qiraat (higher course for reading the Quran).

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