The Jamaat-e-Islami in Madhya Pradesh may object to hoisting the national flag at madrassas, but many other Muslim bodies and intellectuals see no problem in such a move.
Anwar Safi, spokesperson of the Jamaat-e-Islami (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh), had said in a statement on Thursday that hoisting the tricolour on national festivals should not be mandatory for madrassas.
Safi said this after a plan document of the 11th Five Year Plan said it would be necessary for every educational institute, including madrassas, to hoist the national flag on national festivals. The document also talks about a special grant for madrassas to celebrate national festivals such as Independence Day and Republic Day.
Criticising the government's move, Safi said that madrassas were religious bodies and making the flag-hoisting compulsory was unnecessary.
"A madrassa is a place where religious preaching is imparted. It is a religious body. All Muslim bodies across the state will protest against this non-secular move," Safi told IANS.
Safi's remarks, however, have not gone down well with many other Muslim organisations in the state as many leaders have criticised him severely for his "fanatical" stand.
"What is the logic behind raising such frivolous issues? It is nothing but idiotic fanaticism. If the tricolour could be put up at the Arafat-kaa-Maidan and the Indian Haj Council office in Makkah, what is the harm in hoisting it at a madrassa?" asked All India Muslim Teohar Committee chairman Ausaf Shahmeeri Khurram.
"Such things speak of Al-Qaeda mentality," he added.
Madhya Pradesh Minorities Commission chairman Anwar Mohammad Khan also criticised Safi's views, saying he was raking up an unnecessary controversy.
"The Indian Constitution makes it mandatory for everyone to respect the national flag. The madrassa is an educational body. What is the harm in hoisting the national flag? Madrassas get grants from the government and they should obey its directives," Anwar said.
"Why shouldn't the national flag be unfurled at a madrassa?" asked Anjumm Barabankvi, a prominent Muslim personality and a poet.
"Everyone should celebrate all the national festivals with great enthusiasm and madrassas are a part of the system in which we live," said Anjum.
Madhya Pradesh has 5,200 recognised madrassas out of which more than 1,100 are receiving government grants. Bhopal alone has 96 madrassas that receive grants.