Maharashtra’s BJP government has decided to de-recognise Madrasas or schools for Islamic instruction across the state.
Announcing this decision, the minister for state for social justice, Dilip Kamble said that this would apply to any other institutions that do not teach subjects like Science, Math and Social Sciences.
He added, “Those schools which do not follow the curriculum approved by the state government, will not be recognised as schools. Therefore, children studying in Madrasas or in any other institutions based only on religious studies will not be counted among school students.”
Maharashtra’s Devendra Fadnavis government had earlier this month asked Madrasas in the state to include what it said were the formal subjects in their curriculum, in order for them to keep receiving government funds.
Minister for minorities’ welfare Eknath Khadse had said, “We want the minority to come up in all spheres of life. Thus, it is important that when they give religious teachings to students, they also give knowledge of other subjects at the same time. Thus, we have decided to make it mandatory for madrasas to teach these four subjects as well.”
As per the scheme, every year, each madrasa was expected to get Rs. 2 lakh to develop infrastructure and Rs. 3 lakh for salaries of teachers. In addition, Rs. 50,000 was meant to be given for the purchase of books for the library. The organisation that runs the madrasa was also expected to appoint three teachers with adequate educational qualifications to teach students.
The MIM chief, Aasaduddin Owaisi, whose party had done exceedingly well in the Mharashtra assembly polls last year, said the steps by Maharashtra government were against the articles of the constitution.
He told the news agency ANI, “This is deliberate targeting, anti-minority. Madrasa going children arent out of school students. Does BJP care about what they said in their election manifesto? They had said they will contribute to madrasa modernization.”
Out of 1,889 madrasas in the State, around 537 had agreed to be a part of the scheme. The decision is significant because Muslims account for 10.6% of the state’s population.