The legislative assembly of the state of Assam in India passed a bill Wednesday to convert State-run madrasas (Islamic schools) into general schools. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party claimed that the schools did not provide an adequate education.
Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We need more doctors, police officers, bureaucrats, and teachers, from the minority Muslim community rather than Imams for mosques.”
While the bill seeks to repeal the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialization) Act, 1995 and the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialization of Services of Employees and Re-Organisation of Madrassa Educational Institutions) Act, 2018, it also aims to convert Sanskrit tols (schools) into centers of learning and research affiliated to a Sanskrit and ancient studies university, in a bid to “secularize” education.
Many Muslim activists in India expressed fear over discrimination fueling the policy. Wazed Ali Choudhury, a member of the opposition Indian National Congress party, remarked, “The idea is to wipe out Muslims.”
More than 700 State-run madrasas must close their doors by April.