Indian State of Assam to Ban state-run Madrassas and Convert them into Schools
The Indian state of Assam, ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fascist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has passed a law to change all Islamic schools into regular education institutions.
Every government-run Islamic school in Assam, regionally known as madrassas, will be converted by April.
Assam’s Education Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, confirmed the news of the conversion on Twitter on Wednesday.
Glad that the Bill pertaining to repeal of Provincialisation of Madrassas has been passed, even as @INCAssam and @AIUDFOfficial expectedly staged a walkout in Assembly. All Madrassas, being run under government stands converted into regular educational institute wef April 1, 2021
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) December 30, 2020
In a speech to regional politicians the same day, Sarma positioned the law to ’empower’ the Muslim community.
He said it would ensure “a right to equal education for all kids and eases the path to higher education.”
Madrassas provide a system of education where students are taught about the Qur’an and Islamic history alongside general subjects like science and maths.
According to the 2011 government census, Muslims account for 34.22% of Assam’s total population.
Once the law is passed, the madrassas will become “secular schools” that will not teach students about the Quran.
Opposition politicians have condemned the move, alleging it reflects hardening anti-Muslim attitudes in the country.
The Senior state opposition leader, Debabrata Saikia, stated the new law was passed by the BJP to “consolidate more Hindu votes.”
“It’s a polarization tactic,” Saikia said. “The BJP is attempting to do it in an official capacity. There is no such need for a law.”
Opposition politicians from the Indian National Congress and the All India United Democratic Front staged a walkout during the bill’s discussion.
According to the chairperson of Assam’s Madrassa Education Board, Imran Hussain, around 700 schools will be impacted.
“If parents have sent their children to madrassas for just religious studies, they may have a problem,” Hussain said.
“But I believe in fine education, and if students are given a general education, it will be okay. It is not belittling the Muslim community. This is not a policy targeting Muslims.
“I hope that with the new law, the authorities step up the infrastructure in the madrassas.”
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