Guwahati (Assam), Oct 15 : The Assam government will be closing all the state-run madrasas and Sanskrit schools from November due to lack of funds.
Making the announcement, Assam Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the government will release a notification in this regard.
The BJP-led government in Assam has decided to close down state-run Madrasas and Sanskrit ‘tols’ (centres of learning) and converted them to schools teaching regular courses, Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said .
If religious books are taught with government funds, then the Gita also has to be taught in Sanskrit tols, Sarma said .
“We have decided to close down Madrasas and Sanskrit tols of the state because it is not the job of government institutes to provide religious books,” the minister said.
Madrasas and Sanskrit tols of the state will be converted to high and higher secondary schools within three to four months, the minister said.
The senior BJP leader added that all government-aided madrassas in Assam ill be converted into regular schools as the state government has decided to shut down all madrassas in November.
Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that the government money could not be used to teach Muslim religious book Quran, adding that if the government is bearing the cost of teaching the Quran in madrassas, then it should also pay for the teaching of Bible and Bhagavad Gita.
“In my opinion, teaching ‘Quran’ can’t happen at the cost of government money, if we have to do so then we should also teach both the Bible and Bhagavad Gita. So, we want to bring uniformity and stop this practice,” he said.
The senior BJP leader added that all government-aided madrassas in Assam will be converted into regular schools as the state government has decided to shut down all madrassas in November. Sarma said that in certain cases teachers will be transferred to state government schools.
“All State-run madrassas will be converted into regular schools or in certain cases teachers will be transferred to state-run schools and madrassas will be shut down. A notification will be released in November,” said Sarma.
After the closing down of the madrasas, 48 contractual teachers are likely to be shifted to schools under the Education Department.
Following the government’s announcement, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief and perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal said that if the BJP-led government shut down government-run madrasas, his party would re-open them after coming to power in the next year’s Assembly elections.
“Madrasas cannot be closed. We would reopen these 50-60-year-old madrassas if this BJP government closes them forcibly,” said Ajmal, also a Lok Sabha member.
There are 614 government-aided recognised madrasas in Assam — 57 for girls, three for boys, and 554 co-educational, with 17 of them Urdu medium. There are nearly 1,000 recognised Sanskrit tols, of which around 100 are government-aided.
The state government spends about Rs 3-4 crore on madrasas and about Rs 1 crore on Sanskrit tols in the state annually.