In a controversial move, madrassas or Islamic seminaries have been derecognised as formal schools in the BJP-ruled Maharashtra, which has directed the district administrations to declare their students “out-of-school children”.
The move is being defended by the Devendra Fadnavis government as a means to bring madrassa students into mainstream formal education. A massive survey has been planned on July 4 by the state’s department of school education to identify out-of-school children.
According to a 2013 study, there are nearly 2000 madrassas in Maharashtra imparting education to over 1.5 lakh students.
The move has raised the heckles of Muslim leaders as well as the opposition parties in the state. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani told India Today TV, “Whatever happened is unacceptable. The Maharashtra government already faces a trust deficit as far as Muslims are concerned.”
Calling the move unconstitutional, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam said, “No child should be discriminated along religious lines. We are going to take the issue in the state Assembly.”