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NCPCR orders States to conduct a detailed inquiry into all madrasas that are getting govt funds, asks non-Muslim students to be brought to regular schools

The NCPCR, therefore, asked the states and UTs to conduct a detailed inquiry into government-funded madrasas that are admitting non-Muslim students and also to physically verify children attending such madrasas. He further asked the authorities to admit all such children to formal schools after the inquiry.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Friday issued notices to all the Indian states and Union territories asking them to conduct a detailed inquiry into all the madrasas that get funds from the government. The organization also directed the state authorities to keep a record of non-Muslim children who are getting admitted to such madrasas and admit all such children to formal schools post-inquiry.

The NCPCR in the letter said that it had received several complaints that children from non-Muslim communities were being admitted to government-funded madrasas and were also being provided with scholarships. “This is a clear-cut violation of any contravention of Article 28(3) of the Constitution of India that prohibits educational institutions from obligating the children to take part in the religious instruction without the consent of the parents,” the letter read.

NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo also stated that though madrasas as institutions are primarily responsible for imparting religious education, those funded by the Government are imparting both religious and to some extent formal education to children. He said that the state must provide free and compulsory education to children and ensure that the latter go to schools for availing of formal education as per section 6 of the Right to Education Act, 2009.

The NCPCR, therefore, asked the states and UTs to conduct a detailed inquiry into government-funded madrasas that are admitting non-Muslim students and also to physically verify children attending such madrasas. He further asked the authorities to admit all such children to formal schools after the inquiry.

The NCPCR in the notice issued on December 8 also said that the states shall undertake mapping of all unmapped madrasas and submit the report within 30 days for record and further necessary action. Earlier in November, it was reported that the Centre had stopped granting scholarships to madrasa students across the country from Classes 1 to 8. Madarsa children from Classes 1 to 5 were provided with a scholarship of Rs 1,000, while students from Classes 6 to 8 received the grant depending on their courses.

The decision by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, headed by Union Minister Smriti Irani, to stop scholarships for madrasa students was reportedly taken since the education of students of Classes 1 to 8 is free under the Right to Education Act, and since other essential facilities including mid-day meals and free books are given to them.

Also, in September the UP government announced that it would survey unrecognized madrasas of the state to ascertain information such as details of teachers and students, curriculum, and its affiliation with any non-government organization. The state then stated that the survey would be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the NCPCR, which wants to check on the basic facilities provided to students in madrasas. Accordingly, the survey identified over 7,500 unrecognized madrasas in the state.

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