The central government has reportedly not paid the monthly salaries of over 21,000 teachers of Madrassas (Islamic schools) across Uttar Pradesh since 2016, which has forced them to take up alternative sources of work.
The Madrassa teachers were recruited from 16 states, including UP, under the Scheme to Provide Quality Education in Madrassas (SPQEM) by Union Human Resources and Development (HRD) Ministry in 2008-2009.
SPQEM aims to provide "modern, quality education" across the Islamic seminaries or Madrassas in India. Under the scheme, people with graduation or a post graduation degree were hired to teach modern subjects in Madrassas.
The centre used to pay Rs 6,000 per month to graduates and Rs 12,000 per month to post-graduate teachers whereas the state government paid an additional Rs 2,000 per month to graduate and Rs 3,000 to post-graduate teachers.
However, since 2016, the central government has asked the state governments to share 40 per cent salaries of Madrassa teachers for the financial years, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, The Times of India reported.
The state government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is yet to clear the proposal for approving the share in the payment of salaries to Madrassa teachers, which has left these youth to fend for themselves.
The teachers have now taken small-time jobs to earn a livelihood and support their families. "It is deplorable to see young educated Muslim youth who could have worked anywhere with dignity rather take up odd jobs of selling milk, driving rickshaws or working as an artisan after they were abandoned by the central government," Muhammad Altaf Khan, a Bengaluru-based Muslim scholar told International Business Times, India.
"The Madrassa teachers in Bareilly, Sitapur, Maharajgang, Ghazipur, Balrampur and Bahraich have decided to boycott their work and instead go on a state-wide indefinite strike from February 1, protesting against the non-payment of their salaries as it has become impossible to support their families with no cooperation from the government," Muslim Raza Khan, the President of All India Madrassa Modern Teachers Association, told The Times of India.