Eighteen Muslims MPs present at the meeting called by Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal, to evolve a consensus on the establishment of a central madarsa board, asked the government to go slow on the proposed legislation.
Under a third of the country’s 59 Muslim parliamentarians attended Saturday’s meeting, which saw little unanimity, even though 30 had committed to come.
The meeting was a bid to move ahead on creating a framework to introduce modern curricula in the country’s seminaries, where an estimated 4 per cent of Muslim children study.
The MPs were particularly concerned about how the board might be constituted and who might feature on it.
The current draft of the law—drawn in 2007—suggested 10 to 15 members, with theologians representing upto 8 sects within Islam, with appointments being made by the government.
But MPs such as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shahnawaz Hussain and the Congress party’s Asrarual Haque told Sibal that the community should not be splintered like this, and the seminaries protected from potential government interference.
MPs also asked how children and teachers might handle the additional load in curriculum after modern subjects would be introduced.