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Deoband: Darul Uloom to Hold Conference Following UP Govt's Order to Conduct Survey of ‘Unrecognised Madrasas’

The UP government's recent directive to all the district magistrates to begin a survey to identify "unrecognised madrasas" has kicked up a political storm as many minority organisations have called it an attempt to target the community.

Image credit: Edules

Lucknow: Darul Uloom Deoband, an Islamic seminary, has called the heads of over 250 major madrasas from across Uttar Pradesh to attend an 'Ijlas' (conference) on September 18 to discuss the Yogi Adityanath-led government’s plan to conduct a survey of the "unrecognised and private madrasas" to gather information about the number of teachers, curriculum, and basic facilities available there, among other factors.

"The aim of the conference is to discuss and study the government's recent directive on surveys of madrasas in the state and respond accordingly," Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, rector, Darul Uloom Deoband, told NewsClick.

When more information was sought about the conference, he said, "We will respond after consulting all madrasas invited on September 18."

Notably, the UP government's recent directive to all the district magistrates to begin a survey to identify "unrecognised madrasas" has kicked up a political storm as many minority organisations have called it an attempt to target the community.

"These same madrasas helped get independence for the country and they are now being looked at with suspicion. This comes at a time when India's 75 years of Independence are being celebrated. The government’s only purpose is harassing and defaming Muslims and Islam,” a Muslim scholar of Deoband told NewsClick on the condition of anonymity, adding that madrasas have the right to decide their curriculum.

Doubting the intention of the Yogi government, he further added, "If the government's intention is to bonafide unrecognised madrasas, then it's a welcome decision. But it is important to note that the officers who will conduct the survey will harass teachers and the madrasa administration in the name of petty things like when did map of the madras was passed and the ownership of property. The process of survey, if conducted by officers with communal mindeste, itself will be a torture for us," he claimed.

Muslim Raza Khan, a teacher at a madrasa in Ghazipur district told NewsClick, "Why should anyone have a problem if the government wants to collect data on madrasas? However, the state should first make its intention clear. It should also tell whether it is discharging responsibility towards recognised madrasas and being able to ensure that teachers are qualified and getting salaries on time."

The UP government on Wednesday passed an order allowing the transfer of teaching and non-teaching staff of aided madrasas. The women staff members of the state Madrasa Board will now also get maternity and child care leave.

Minister of State for Minority Affairs Danish Azad Ansari said the government will conduct the survey according to the requirement of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to assess the availability of basic facilities to the students in madrasas.

During the survey, details such as the name of the madrasa and the institution operating it, whether it is running in a private or rented building, the number of students studying there, and information regarding facilities like drinking water, furniture, electricity supply, and toilet will be collected, Ansari said.

Information regarding the number of teachers in a madrassa, its curriculum, source of income, and its affiliation with any non-government organisation will also be gathered, he said.

"It is malicious to refer to madrasas as not adhering to the government system. It is essential to respond with a reasonable approach. The madrasa education system is our inherited wealth. It will be safeguarded at all costs. A steering committee has been formed for further action. We want to take things to a logical conclusion,” Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said in a tweet following the announcement.

Shah Alam, a madrasa teacher in Gorakhpur said, “For the last four months, we have not received our salary despite giving our best efforts. This move is entirely political as the BJP government has an evil intent. The attempts to interfere in the private madrasas, which are run on donations from the community, in the name of the survey are inappropriate. They should focus on improving the condition of the government and government-aided madrassas,” he said.

It must be noted that the UP government in a recent order stated that no new madrasa will receive a grant from the government. In a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on May 17, the state government cleared the proposal to exclude new madrasas from the grant list. With this, the Yogi government has changed the policy of modernisation of madrasas adopted by the previous government led by the Samajwadi Party (SP).

In this context, the madrasa teachers NewsClick spoke with questioned the grounds on which the "survey of unrecognised and private madrasas" is being conducted. "The intention behind this survey is dubious and the government should make it clear. Otherwise, it is safe to assume that it is being done to harass Muslims and appease the majority community ahead of the Lok Sabha elections," another teacher told NewsClick wishing anonymity. They added that rather than providing salaries to the teachers of aided madrasas on time and developing the infrastructure, the government is more concerned about the source of the funding and curriculum. “It is easy to guess its intention,” they said.

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