Several Muslim leaders have objected to the state government’s directive to conduct a survey of all unrecognized madrassas in Uttar Pradesh. The move is aimed at gathering information about the number of students, faculty and staff, syllabus and links of these madrassas with any NGO.
The survey will be completed by October 5. The survey will be conducted by teams of SDM, Basic Education Officer and District-level Minority Affairs Officer. The teams will submit their survey report to the ADM, who will then send it to the DM. It has been said in the instructions that the District Magistrate will have to submit the survey report to the government by October 25.
Yogi Adityanath’s government has given five objectives for conducting this survey.
First, the government wants to find out how many such madrasas are there in the entire state, which are not recognized by the government. Second, how many children are studying in these madrasas and whether the necessary facilities are available to teach them. Thirdly, whether the madrassa has the necessary classes and teachers in terms of the number of students and whether adequate seating arrangements have been made for the children. Fourth, what is being taught to the students of madrasas, under what syllabus are they studying and whether the teachers and maulana who teach the children are qualified to teach. Fifth, how are the expenses of the madrasas run, what is their source of income and how much is their expenditure. This data is being collected to help the government in providing better and modern education to the children studying in these madrasas.
This survey is part of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s proactive approach to improve the education system of all madrasas. Minority Affairs and Muslim Waqf Minister Danish Azad Ansari said, women employees working in these madrasas will also get maternity leave and child care leave as per the rules applicable in the Department of Secondary Education and Basic Education. The survey will be conducted as per the requirement of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which is concerned about the availability of basic facilities to the children studying in madrassas.
AIMIM supremo Asaduddin Owaisi objected to this directive and termed it as ‘mini-NRC’. Owaisi alleged that the UP government was harassing Muslims in the state. He said that some madrassas come under the UP madrassa board and under Article 30 of the constitution the government cannot interfere in the rights of minorities. Owaisi said, ‘BJP hates Muslims. She wants to ban us from offering Namaz, to stop us from reading the Quran. This is the reason why madrassas are being targeted. Mini-NRC has started in the country.
However, NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanungo rejected Owaisi’s argument. “Owaisi is lying and misleading the minorities. He is playing with the rights of children. The government has every right to know the condition of children studying in unrecognized madrassas. More than 11 million Muslim children across India are studying in unmapped and unrecognized madrassas. Article 30 does not apply here as the government is the custodian of the rights of children who are not studying in schools. The UP government has every right to collect data on children studying in unrecognized madrassas.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh said that such a survey should be done in all madrasas of the country. “Modi ji wants to modernize madrasas, but leaders like Owaisi are against it. They want the children of Muslims to stay away from modern education, they should take only Islamic education and do their slavery.
Owaisi said that Muslims have been backward not because of madrassas but because of government neglect. He said, ‘In madrasas, children are made human. The government should survey those madrasas which are run with government help. Why is she surveying private madrassas? On the one hand, there are no teachers in the government schools of UP, the condition of the buildings is bad, the teachers are not getting the salary on time and the government is leaving all these issues and is only after madrasas.
Replying to this, Iftikar Ahmed Javed, chairman of the UP Madrasa Board, said, ‘If the government wants to improve the condition of madrasas, then what is the harm in that? Modi ji wants every Muslim child to have a computer in one hand and Quran in the other.
Maulana Saeed Noori, head of Raza Academy, an Islamic fundamentalist organization in Mumbai, objected to the survey, saying, “If the government wants to recognize all madrassas, it is fine, but the reality is that the government does not want to do good to madrassas.” She wants to communalise the atmosphere under the guise of madrassas.
Maulana Masood Madani of Darul Uloom of Deoband said that the government is trying to give a communal color to the issue. “The government wants to stop the children of poor Muslims from studying in the name of survey of unrecognized madrasas,” he said.
Maulana Ishtiaq Ahmed Qadri, principal of Shaikhul Alam Sabriya Chishtia Madrasa in Lucknow said, “Muslims have become the football of politics in today’s era. Some are doing politics against them and some are shining their politics by standing in support of them. If the problems of madrasas are removed after the survey, then it is fine, otherwise it seems like a political step at present. He alleged that his own madrasa had completed all the formalities but was not recognized. He said, ‘We have been waiting for 8 years, and despite completing all the formalities, we are yet to get the recognition.’
India TV reporter Ruchi Kumar met some students and teachers at a madrasa in Lucknow. Most of them welcomed the decision of the survey. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had initiated the modernization of madrassas after coming to power in 2017. He had created a portal in 2017 in which all madrasas were allowed to apply for registration. So far 16,513 madrassas have registered themselves, out of which 558 madrassas are getting government grants. Yogi Sarkar included NCERT books in their syllabus, launched a learning app for madrasa students, installed web cams to prevent cheating during exams in madrasas, and gave Rs 1 lakh more tablets to top-ranking students .
It is true that children of poor Muslims study in most of the madrassas, so if the UP government helps them by conducting a survey and finding out the condition of private madrassas, then there is no harm in it. Owaisi should visit the state-run madrassas and find out whether the children studying maths, science, computer and English have stopped reciting Quran and Namaz.
This is just a deceptive thing and people should not be provoked about it. If the Yogi government is conducting a survey of madrassas with good intention, then it should be supported. There are 16,513 madrassas in UP, out of which only 558 are getting government help, then it is surprising. The number of madrassas receiving government aid should increase. Sometimes it happens that the rules for government recognition are strict. The madrasa area is defined, the size of the classroom is decided, the facilities are decided. The madrasas which are running in two rooms each, they are not able to fulfill the conditions of recognition. Therefore, the government should also consider relaxing the conditions for obtaining recognition.
There are other issues that need attention. The Assam government had recently bulldozers on three madrassas in Gowalpara, Barpeta and Bongaigaon. 37 people working in these madrasas were arrested for their links with AQIS (Al Qaeda in the Indian sub-continent) and Bangladeshi terrorist organization Ansarullah Bangla. These people were actively involved in anti-national activities under the guise of running a madrasa. Some of them were teaching Muslim students in madrasas as clerics.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that his government is not against any community, but if madrassas are found helping terrorist elements, the government will bulldozers there. “Our only intention is that jihadi elements should not be able to use madrasas,” Sharma said. When madrassas are not used for carrying out jihadi activities or propagating jihadi ideology, why will they be demolished?’
All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) leader Badruddin Ajmal said, “If any wrong person is found in a madrasa, then the government should catch him, what is the need to demolish the whole madrasa.” He asked, ‘Why is the government punishing everyone?’
Himanta Vishwa Sharma has been taking a strict stand on madrassas from the very beginning. In 2020, when he was the education minister, he had closed all government madrassas in Assam by passing a law from the assembly. On Thursday, he said, ‘We are taking action only against those madrasas which were promoting terrorism. I have met Muslim children studying in madrasas. Most of them said that they do not want to take the education of religion, Islam. They all want to be either doctors or engineers.
If links of running a madrasa are found with terrorists, then no one should object to bulldozers running on that madrasa. If terrorism is taught in a madrasa, then action must be taken against it. But the government should take care that there is no harm in the education of innocent children. If there is computer education in madrassas with dini education, modern education is given, then it will only benefit the students and they will also be able to fulfill their dream of becoming an engineer and a doctor. (Rajat Sharma)
Watch: Full Episode of ‘Aaj Ki Baat With Rajat Sharma’, September 01, 2022
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