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Azamgarh upset over being called as terror hub; blames bad politics
When we think of Azamgarh, a neighboring district of Varanasi in eastern UP, the names which come into one's mind are of Kaifi Azmi (Urdu poet), Ram Chandra Shukla (essayist), Ayodhya Singh Upadhyaya (Khadi Boli poet), Rahul Sankrityayan (Buddhist scholar), Prof Allama Shibli Nomani etc.

However, since last few years Azamgarh is making headlines for negative reasons. People have started seeing the city of noted poets with suspicion. The reason being arrest of some alleged terrorists who belong to Azamgarh.

The names like underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Haji Mastan, Abu Salem have only brought dishonour to Azamgarh. Dawood is a most wanted terrorist now for his role in 1993 Mumbai blasts. Like Dawood, some other terror symbols belonging to this city of poets are Ahmedabad blast master mind Abu Bashir, Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez, a 29-year-old youth accused of 2013 Hyderabad serial blasts.

There could be some more names in this list of terrorists having their roots in Azamgarh. But does this mean that a city once known because of its poets and for its Hindu-Muslim brotherhood, be termed as a terror hub?

It was only last Sunday when Amit Shah, BJP's General Secretary and a close associate of the party's PM-in-waiting Narendra Modi, called Azamgarh a 'base of terrorists'.

Terming Azamgarh as a terror hub is result of bad politics or there is some factually justified truth behind this nomenclature?

We spoke to few intellectuals from Azamgarh from different walks of life, to know how they feel when people call their city a terror hub. All echoed in one voice that terming Azamgarh as base of terrorists is a result of bad politics being played. They strongly opposed referring their city as terror hub just because few people have alleged terror links.

Radhe Mohan, a social activist from Azamgarh says that calling Azamagarh as a terror hub is majorly because of politics. “I also accept the fact that few Muslim boys have joined some terrorist groups, but this does not make the total population of Azamgarh to be terrorist. Azamgarh is not a motherland of terrorists.”

Sant Prasad Agarwal, President, Association of Businessmen in Azamgarh, feels that, “It is all because of bad politics, and factually there are no traces of terrorism in Azamgarh. Some parties are accusing the city just for their political interest.”

Radhe Shyam Yadav, a teacher at a junior high school says that the people outside Azamgarh feels that the district is infected with terrorism, but its just their assumption. “There are no cases of terrorism in Azamgarh, though some people from Azamgarh have joined few terrorist groups, but its just a small number. The politicians are doing so, just to bring a bad name to the city,” said Yadav.

Manoj Singh, an advocate from Azamgarh says that, people in Azamgarh are very nice, and the city is a good example of communal harmony. “The politicians are making the city unpopular, just to gain profit out of it during this election season,” said Manoj Singh.

Political analysts also feel that terming Azamgarh as a terror hub is a bad politics being played. “The comment by Amit Shah, is an example of bad politics. Their are lakhs of people in the city and only few people (2-3) are associated with terrorist groups, so you can't brand the whole city as a terrorist hub,” said Dr. Sudhir Panwar, a political science professor from Lucknow University.

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