TNTJ leaders held a presser to official deny the accusations and condemn the terror attacks as “anti-Islamic”.
Eight serial blasts rocked Sri Lanka on Easter and turned several otherwise jaunty gatherings into macabre sites. The bombings of churches and posh hotels that claimed 253 lives promptly put Tamil-speaking Islamist groups in India and Lanka under the scanner.
Shortly after, the National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ), one of the prime suspects of the blasts in Lanka was banned by the government; the Islamic State (IS) later claimed responsibility for the blasts.
President Maithripala Sirisena used emergency powers to ban the outfit along with another group called the Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI). Lankan counter-terrorism experts believe NTJ to owe its origin to the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaath (SLTJ).
Now, SLTJ is a known fundamentalist group that believes furthering the cause of the Wahhabi version of Islam; the group is also known to spew racial hatred and even vandalise pagodas and endorse IS brand of jihad.
Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath (TNTJ), which faced the brunt of speculatory blame in the wake of the attack, is an affiliate of SLTJ. In the past, the latter had even hosted TNTJ leaders on Lankan soil.
Although TNTJ is seemingly a hardliner religious body, it insists it had no role to play in the April 21 blasts, according to a report by the Hindustan Times.
The allegations still kept coming from all quarters, laced with frequent latent media trials, forcing the leaders to finally address a presser to official deny the accusations and condemn the terror attacks as “anti-Islamic”.
Commenting on the allegations, B Abdul Rehman, the Vice-President of TNTJ, said: “Connecting NTJ with TNTJ is like saying All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) are sister groups because DMK is common to both their names. Thowheed is an Arabic word that means oneness of God, and several organisations use it. No government has linked us with NTJ… Whoever has carried out the attacks cannot be a real Muslim.”TNTJ runs 600 mosques in the state and holds summer camps for kids. It also extends ambulance services and arranges blood donation camps, apart from providing medical and educational help to needy Muslims. The organisation additionally runs old age homes, orphanages, and Islamic schools.