Shillong, Oct 28 (UNI) A mosque, believed to be a ''safe haven'' for illegal Bangladeshis has been closed down in Meghalaya.
The mosque located at Lumshnong (Umsahi), Jaintia Hills, bordering Assam's Silchar town, was closed down by the Khasi Students' Union (KSU) yesterday for allegedly providing shelter to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
'' Yes, the mosque was closed down after we found that it is being used as a safe haven for illegal Bangladeshis,'' KSU President Samuel Jyrwa told UNI here today.
Mr Jyrwa added that the mosque sprang up in the area ''without permission from the village council.'' '' We won't allow this to happen. The landowner too did not have any knowledge about the mosque's construction,'' the KSU chief said.
However, Congress MLA and President of Shillong Muslim Union Sayedullah Nongrum termed the closure of a place of worship as ''arbitrary and violated the fundamental right of an Indian citizen.'' ''Everyone has the right to worship and profess one's faith. We will take up this issue,'' Mr Nongrum said.
But on the other hand, the Muslim leader said the Union supports the KSU and other organizations in its drive against illegal Bangladeshis from the state.
'' The Muslim community members from the state were also against illegal Bangladeshi influx,'' he stated.
'' However, many MLAs from Assam have written to me complaining that valid documents of labourers signed by the MLAs were destroyed by members of KSU and other organizations during their drive against illegal Bangladeshis,'' Mr Nongrum said.
During this month alone the KSU and other organisations have nabbed more than 300 suspected illegal Bangladeshis in Jaintia Hills. On October 23 alone, 43 suspected Bangladeshis were apprehended by these organisations.
Most of the detained Bangladeshi nationals claim to be residents of Assam and many were engaged as labourers in the mushrooming cement plants in the district which shares a long international border with Bangladesh.
UNI RRK KK AKM/AB 1707