Assam CM says admission to madrassas 'rights violation': 'Can't be doctors...'
Children won’t be able to think about becoming doctors and engineers as long as “madrassas” exist, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said. “I always advocate for non-existence of madrassas where religious inculcation is given priority over formal education(sic),” the 53-year-old leader wrote on Twitter.
He also shared a video where he can be heard saying: “This word (madrassa) should vanish. Till the time, this thought process stays, a child cannot become a doctor or an engineer. If a child is told about the outcome, he or she won’t be interested in going there. Children are admitted to a madrassa in violation of human rights.”
“Nobody is saying don’t teach the Quran (Islamic holy book). But more than that, a student should be taught science, math, biology, botany and zoology,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said at the event. “Give religious teachings for 2-3 hours. But in schools, a student should be taught in a manner that he can become an engineer or a doctor.”
Further, in an apparent response to a comment at the event he was addressing, the chief minister added: “You are saying that Muslims have merit because they learn the Quran. All the Muslim brothers were Hindu once,” he said to an applauding crowd. “All people in India were Hindus. If a Muslim child is meritorious, I will give credit to his Hindu past.”
Himanta Biswa Sarma has been a vocal critic of madrassas - a religious school- and had said back in 2020 that state-run madrassas in Assam will either be converted into regular schools or they will be shut down.
In the same year, the state government decided to dissolve all government-run madrassas in the northeastern state, and convert them into general educational institutions.
In January 2021, the assembly passed the Assam Repealing Act, 2020, repealing the Madrassa Education Provincialisation Act, 1955, and Assam Madrassa Education Act, 2018.
The Gauhati High Court on February 4 this year upheld the Assam Repealing Act, 2020 and the subsequent orders and communication of the state government.