December 17, 2020: The Assam state Jamiat Ulama, on Wednesday, came together for a four-hour long meeting at the Garigaon Madrasa, Gauhati and decided to legally challenge the Assam Government’s decision to convert all government run madrasas and sanskrit tols (schools) into general institutions of education.
As reported earlier, On Monday, Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made the public aware of the state’s decision to make education more secular in Assam. The bill to be tabeled in the winter session of the state assembly starting December 28 will remove the term madrasa from the government run institutions along with theological courses from April 1, 2021 and will also dissolve the State Madrasa Board. There will be no high madrasa exam from 2022 (high madrasa exams are equivalent to high school examinations). However, Sarma pointed that the privately run madrasas will not be affected by this bill. There are 610 government-run madrasas in Assam and the state government spends INR 260 crore annually on these institutions, said Sarma.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Qasimi, the general secretary of the state Jamiat said that they will surely challenge the government in court if it tries to introduce a new act concerning the madrasas. He also said that they will, however, welcome the idea if the government wants to modernize Madrasa education instead of shutting them down. The Assam unit of Jamiat Ulama is an influential organization with both political and social ties and an united opposition will surely impact the outcome regarding this matter.