The Assam government has decided to close down all state-run madrasas and Sanskrit tols (schools) as it claims that it is unable to afford to teach religious scriptures with public funds. The state government will issue a formal notification in this regard in November.
State Education and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "All State-run madrassas will be converted into regular schools or in certain cases teachers will be transferred to state-run schools & madrassas will be shut down. A notification will be released in November."
Sarma further said, in my opinion, teaching 'Quran' can't happen at the cost of government money, if we have to do so then we should also teach both the Bible and Bhagavad Gita. So, we want to bring uniformity and stop this practice."
Earlier he told the media, "Our government's policy we had announced earlier in the state Assembly. There should be no religious education with the government's funding."
After the closing down of the madrasas, 48 contractual teachers are likely to be shifted to schools under the Education Department.
'We would reopen these 50-60-year-old madrassas if this BJP govt closes them forcibly'
Following the government's announcement, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief and perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal said that if the BJP-led government shut down government-run madrasas, his party would re-open them after coming to power in the next year's Assembly elections.
"Madrasas cannot be closed. We would reopen these 50-60-year-old madrassas if this BJP government closes them forcibly," said Ajmal, also a Lok Sabha member.
There are 614 government-aided recognised madrasas in Assam -- 57 for girls, three for boys, and 554 co-educational, with 17 of them Urdu medium. There are nearly 1,000 recognised Sanskrit tols, of which around 100 are government-aided. The state government spends about Rs 3-4 crore on madrasas and about Rs 1 crore on Sanskrit tols in the state annually.
(With inputs from wires)