Assam Cong to move SC if Cabinet decides to close madrasas, Sanskrit tols

Sarma’s comment undemocratic, unconstitutional, says Ripun Bora

GUWAHATI: Assam Congress on Thursday warned that it would move Supreme Court if the state Cabinet decides to close down state-aided madrasas and Sanskrit tols in the state.

Assam education minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma had, while speaking to a section of the media on the sidelines of a programme here on Wednesday, commented that madrasas and Sanskrit tols (schools), which were government aided, would be converted to high schools and higher secondary schools within the next four months as the state government was not obliged to fund religious institutions.

“We will approach the Supreme Court if the Assam Cabinet decides to close down madrasas and Sanskrit tols in the state. The minister has made a verbal statement only, which we condemn in no uncertain terms. Such a move would be undemocratic and unconstitutional,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president, Ripun Bora said on Thursday.

There are over 600 madrasas in Assam at present which are recognized by the State Madrassa Education Board while the number of Sanskrit tols would be about 1000 with only 97 of them aided by the state government.

Sarma however said that madrasas run by NGOs/social organisations will continue but within a regulatory framework.

“Article 28 and 30 of the Indian Constitution clearly mentions that education related to any language or religion can be taught in educational institutions. Curriculum of Secondary Education Board of Assam is followed by madrasas and no religious education is imparted there. Likewise, Sanskrit as the ancient language of the country needs to be preserved and promoted and not neglected,” Bora said.

The statement by the minister has also drawn the ire of certain sections.

The All Assam Minorities Students Union however chose to wait and watch and reserve its reaction for the moment.

“Yes, the minister has made a verbal statement (in front of the media). As of now we will wait and watch and observe what follows,” AAMSU advisor, Azizur Rahman, told The Shillong Times on Thursday.

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