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UP: Muslim Groups Oppose CM Yogi’s Plans to Survey Unrecognised Madrassas

Asad Rizvi |
All Indian Muslims, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the apex body of Indian Muslims and the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind believe that the survey is a malicious attempt to disparage the Madrassa education system.
Yogi Adityanath.

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Resentment of the Muslim community in Uttar Pradesh (UP) is brewing as the State government has announced plans to survey unrecognised Madrassas (Islamic seminaries) in the state. Clerics and leaders slammed the Yogi Aditynath government and have said that the forthcoming survey was unconstitutional.

The leaders of the community categorically announced their opposition to the survey. All Indian Muslims, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the apex body of Indian Muslims and the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind believe that the survey is a malicious attempt to disparage the Madrassa education system.

While criticising the BJP government, the All India Muslim Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, Asaduddin Owaisi, says, “It is not a survey but a mini NRC (National Register for Citizens).”

There are 16,513 recognised Madrassas in UP. The State government is providing financial assistance to 560 Islamic seminaries. However, so far, the UP government has no record of unrecognised Madrassas.

In a bid to ascertain the number of unrecognised Madrassas and their affiliation with non-government organisations, the Yogi Adityanath government will conduct a state-wide survey. The government also checked the number of students, teachers, and curriculum of unrecognised Madrassas.

The government created a proforma based on 12 questions for the survey, according to the UP Madrassa board. The government gathers data on funding and association with any external organisations etc., of unrecognised Madrassas through this method.

These unrecognised Madrassas are unusually run by collecting zakat (alms) - money from the community - to meet expenses like teachers' salaries and electricity bills. Madrassas are established under Article 30 of the Constitution, which gives minorities the right to establish and run their educational institutions.

AIMPLB also denounced the BJP governments of Assam and UP for the demolition of Madrassas and the decision of survey, respectively. Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, the general secretary of the board, asserted that “The party (BJP), influenced by the RSS is tightening the noose around Madrassas.”

"Why is no such action being taken against Gurukuls, Mutts, Dharamshala, and other religious institutions?" Maulana Rehmani was questioned. He also added that the government's acts against Madrassas were unconstitutional.

It is to be recalled here that the Assam government demolished three Madrassas allegedly linked to the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda.

Hyderabad MP and AIMIM chief, Asaduddin Owaisi also accused the Yogi-led government in Uttar Pradesh of "harassing Muslims." He said, “The government cannot interfere with our rights under Article 30 of the constitution. They just want to harass the Muslim community.”

Political thinkers feel that the survey is a part of the “RSS agenda” to create suspicion among Hindus about Muslims. Professor Ravi Das Chandan said that "The survey is an attack on the cultural and educational freedom of the Muslim community.”

"By conducting the survey, the BJP delivers a message to the Hindu community that something is fishy in Madrassas. This created anti-Muslim feelings among Hindus," Chandan added.

Maulana Yasoob Abbas, who is a member of the management committees of two Arabic Madrassas, told the NewsClick that Madrassas played a significant role in the freedom struggle and that the UP government should not view Islamic seminaries with suspicion. The government should refrain from interfering in the educational system to play politics, he said.

Maulana Yasoob Abbas further questioned, "Why aren't Shishu Mandirs on the list if the government wants to survey the religious institutions?"

Meanwhile, on September 6 in Delhi, a gathering of delegates from 200 Madrassas took place under the auspices of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind. They vowed to defend Madrassas at all costs.

Clerics gathered in the meeting denounced the UP government's attempt to demonise Madrassas. They said that Madrassas are the country's greatest asset and have been playing an instrumental role since the independence struggle.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind President, Mahmood Madani, said that we would go to the Supreme Court to stop the survey of Madrassas.

Highlighting the importance of Islamic seminaries, Maulana Madani said that even today, Madrassas continue to benefit the nation by educating youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds and advancing efforts to achieve national literacy rates of 100%.

According to Maulana Mahmood Madani, the Madrassa education system, which was provided to the community by the elders, is still unparalleled worldwide. He went on to say, "So it will be safeguarded at all costs. A steering committee has been formed for further action on Madrassas," he said.

While Maulana Khaleed Rasheed Farangahali of Darul-ul-Uloom Farangi Mahal talked to NewsClick and said the government should avoid interfering in Madrassas run by arranging money from the community. Maulana Khalid, who is also a member of AlMPLB, added, "If the government is serious about the betterment of Madrassas, it should provide salaries to teachers of aided Madrassas on time and develop infrastructure in recognised and aided Madrassas."

Aadil Faraz, a Madrassa, passed out student said to NewsClick that the government has the right to survey the aided Madrassas, but interfering in an unrecognised institution is like curtailing the constitutional rights of Muslims. "Before commencing the drive, the government should take all the stakeholders in confidence," he added.

Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, Chairman, Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education, said that the survey could be carried out as per the requirement of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in connection with the availability of essential facilities to the students in Madrassas.

"All the District Magistrates (DMs) have been issued instructions regarding the survey," he told the NewsClick.

Javed also stated that the government had ordered a survey of unrecognised Madrassas to be conducted by October 5. Teams will consist of Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA), and District Minority Officers.

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