CAIRO - Muslim leaders are raising their voices to complain of police harassment of students and teachers of Islamic schools in the Indian city of Hyderabad following twin blasts.
Madrasahs train students in theology and not terrorism, Maqsood Yamani from the Deeni Madaris Board, a body managing around 400 Islamic schools in the city, told The Times of India .
Police have taken details of not just students but also asked us unusual questions like if any suspicious characters have stayed the night in our institutions.
Twin blasts rocked the city of Dilsuknagar in Hyderabad last month, killing at least 20 people and injured scores.
Following the attacks, police began to gather information about students and teachers at Islamic schools as part of efforts to manhunt the attackers.
They even went to the houses of faculty members to cross-check information provided to them, a madrasah official said.
This reflects extreme prejudice.
Do they do this with other religious institutions now that they have proof of acts of terrorism being linked to Hindu fundamentalists?"
There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
There are 506 madrasahs in West Bengal and nearly 52 others will be established by the end of 2009.
Nearly 17 percent of the students and 11 percent of the teachers in these Islamic schools are non-Muslims.
Muslim leaders have vowed to take their complaints of police harassment to the government.
"We had made a representation against harassing madrassa staff to the government around three years ago, Raheemuddin Ansari, member of the Muslim Personal Law Board, said.
Since the cycle is repeating, we plan to make a stronger representation to the government next week."
Jamiat-e-Ulama Hind (CJUH) was also critical of the police harassment of Islamic schools.
Secretary-General of CJUH in Dilsuknagar Mohammed Fazluddin Ahmed said the police harassment has installed fears among students and staff.
"DGP V Dinesh Reddy asserts that the police force is not targeting any community, yet they come to our madrassas and enquire about the whereabouts of students and faculty, he said.
This is nothing but harassment and it is unnecessary.
Indian Muslims have long complained that they are detained, abused and tortured to confess to terror crimes.
They cite that they could be sent behind bars and abused for no reason but being relatives to people suspected in terror activities.
Indian Muslims also accuse authorities of boosting stereotypes about their religion.
Indian Muslims have suffered decades of social and economic neglect and oppression.
They have been decrying for years that they comprise only a tiny percentage of police, army officers, public servants and public university students.They register lower educational levels and, as a consequence, higher unemployment rates than the majority Hindus and other minorities like Christians and Sikhs.