Assam to shut down Madrassas: Not state’s job to teach Quran, says Sarma

15th October 2020

15th October 2020

Hemant Biswa Sarma (inset)

Himanta Biswa Sarma, education minister of Assam said, it is not the job of a government to run institutions that teach religious scriptures and shutting down state-run madrassas and Sanskrit Tols is a secular act.

In November all of the state-run Sanskrit and madrassas Tols will be shut down after the notification issued by Assam's government of Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Islamic sacred law and the Quran are taught besides grammar, history, mathematics, and poetry at educational institutions, madrassas. Madrassas' 148 contractual teachers are expected to be transferred to the schools that provide general secondary education.

During a conversation with Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-chief of Republic TV, Sarma said about this move that "Assam runs nearly a thousand madrassas and spends Rs 260 crore annually on this. We have examined this and found that the state should not involve in the teaching of the Quran. That is not our job."

The demand of some organisations to teach the Holy Bible and Bhagvad Gita in schools was highlighted by the minister and he firmly said that the taxpayer funds must not be used to teach any religious script.

He added, "Now since we can't run all schools on religious scriptures, we have decided to shut down madrassas and the notification will be issued in November."

It has been declared by Badruddin Ajmal, MP and chief of The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) that government-run madrasas will be re-opened by his party after winning the Assembly elections if the BJP government shuts them.

To which, Sarma replied that he does not seek votes in the name of religion. "If Ajmal thought that BJP is going to request votes from the Muslim community as Muslims, it is wrong. We will ask for votes from Indian citizens and not by religion."

As per the website of the State Madrassa Education Board (SMEB), there are 614 recognised madrassas in Assam. As many as 400 out of these are high madrassas, 112 are junior high madrassas and the remaining 102 are senior madrassas.

It also says, out of total recognized madrassas, 57 are for girls, 3 are for boys and 554 are co-educational. Seventeen madrassas are running under Urdu medium.

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