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Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma gives befitting reply to an ‘Islamic Scholar’ on shutting down state-run madrassas

When Atiq Ur Rehman talked about Sardar Patel guaranting rights of minorities, Himanta Biswa Sarma asked him to cite one statement from Patel saying govt should run madrasas

Assam government’s decision to shut down state-run madrassas has created a stir in certain expected sections. The state Education Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma while speaking in the Assam Assembly last month had said that the government-run madrassas will be shut from November as the state government would only promote secular and modern education. Sarma has also promised to start a fight against cased of love jihad in the state by launching a massive campaign.

Speaking on a debate on Republic TV yesterday, BJP leader and senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma gave a befitting response to ‘Islamic Scholar’ Atiq Ur Rehman who was trying to remind him how Muslims “sacrificed” separate electorates for the sake of ‘secularism’. In a snippet of the Republic TV debate shared by Columnist Ajit Datta on Twitter, Sarma can be seen countering Rehman’s rants with facts.

During the debate, Rehman said to Sarma, “Mr Sarma, the minorities of India, they sacrificed their separate electorates, you know, to strengthen secularism, and Saradar Pattle ensured after they sacrificed that minorities linguistics religious and their cultural rights that will be guaranteed in the Constitution and that was incorporated by Sardar Patel guaranteeing all the minorities. Now what you are doing, is this not unconstitutional Sir?” To this Sarma replied, “Maulana Saab, show me a single statement of Sardar Patel that state should run madrassa”. Failing to counter Sarma on this, Rehman asked Sarma to define secularism.

During the debate, Sarma informed that there are around 1000 state-run madrassas in Assam and that the state spends about Rs 260 crore annually on these madrassas. He said that the state govt evaluated the situation, and decided that the state should not teach or preach Quran using public money. He said that due to the presence of state-run Madrassas, there were demands from some organisations to teach Bhagawada Gita and Bible as well in the schools but it was not feasible to run schools as per all religious scriptures.

Despite opposition from parties like AIDUF, Sarma asserted that the decision taken by the state govt will not be changed. The notification regarding this will be issued in November. It may be noted that along with state run madrassas, Assam govt will also be shutting down state-run Sanskrit Tols also, due to mismanagement and irregularities in their functioning.

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