On January 25, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Health and Education Minister of Assam said that the recent step to close state-run madarsas was right. He was answering ABP News’s question on allegations made by All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) leader Badruddin Ajmal who alleged if the BJP government comes in power again, it will close down mosques and madarsas.
Sarma asserted that after being re-elected, the BJP government in Assam will work to bring education in madarsas at par with mainstream education in schools by introducing maths, computers and science.
Children will have the choice to leave madarsas
Sarma said that the children are enrolled in madarsas when they are too young to take decisions on their own. Fathers admit them in the madarsas. He claimed that in a survey done by the government, they found that many children do not continue to study in madarsas. The Assam government will ensure these children have the choice to study in madarsas or in a regular school. He added that if Ajmal says, BJP will close madarsas, he is correct, as they have already closed state government-run madarsas.
Education is the government’s responsibility, not madarsa’s
When Sarma was asked about the opposition his government is facing by the Muslim clericals, he said that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that children get the proper education. It is the responsibility of the government to work towards the welfare of the students and provide them education. “Muslim clerics’ job is to go to the mosque to teach religion. It is the responsibility of the government to educate students, it is the job of education minister. We will fulfill our responsibility and they should fulfill their responsibility. Where is the dispute in this?” Sarma added.
Hindus do not destroy mosques, Ajmal’s ancestors have destroyed many temples
On the allegation by Ajmal that the BJP government will demolish mosques if they come back in power, Sarma said that as far as the mosques are concerned, Hindus anywhere in India would not attack mosques. However, the ancestors of Ajmal have demolished many temples. “Destroying the place of worship is their language, not ours,” said Biswa.
Assam government passed a bill to close down govt-funded madarsas
On December 28, 2020, the Assam government had introduced a bill to close down state-run madarsas in the state. At that time, Biswa had said, “We have introduced a Bill whereby all madrassas will be converted into institutes of general education and the state government will not establish any madrassa in the future. We are happy to introduce this Bill to bring a truly secular curriculum in the education system,” said Sarma. The bill was passed on December 31, 2020, and it will come to effect on April 1, 2021.