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Madrasas’ predicament
By MG correspondent

News of how the police raided madrasas and misbehaved with madrasa administrations following terrorist attack on American Centre in Kolkata are increasingly coming to the fore. W Bengal Minorities Commission chairman Justice KM Yusuf has blamed the police of excesses in the name of finding out details of madrasas. Referring to a late-night police raid on a madrasa in Calcutta, Justice Yusuf said he would not have objected had it been done in the daytime. ‘But why did they raid the madrasa late at night?’ he questioned. ‘Such indiscriminate raids have created panic among Muslims’ the chairman added.

Tirade against madrasas continues. Allegations abound. And with nothing in hand to prove against them, it is all speculations with new masala to defame these institutions run by Muslims around the country. Now mosques are also increasingly being tagged while talking of ‘terrorist’ madrasas. Madrasas’ contribution in the drive to alleviate illiteracy is enormous. But instead of recognizing this contribution, it is now suspected for charges that cannot be digested. Newspapers all over the country are replete with planted stories about the alleged connivance of madrasas with ISI and their alleged involvement in breeding terrorism in the country.

Though the tirade is continuing since the arrival of the BJP government at the centre, it increased recently after the ill-thought about outburst of the Communist chief minister of West Bengal in the wake of attack on the American centre in the state capital. It is not sure as to how the left tried to imitate the rightist outfits, that have been busy in this play for quite a while. 

No charge has been proved against any madrasa of their allegedly being hand in gloves with anti-national elements or sheltering ISI agents. It has been denied by several top ranking police officials in several states where the BJP has been claiming it to happen. 

Rajasthan’s DGP, Shantono Kumar, sometimes back while talking to the media admitted that the madrasas imparting education to minority communities in the border regions of Rajasthan are neither centers of ISI nor have they ever participated till date in any anti-national activities. He added that the police has carried out complete investigation and found that these madrasas, which only impart education, are being falsely and without any basis or proof accused of being ISI centers. He added that there are no criminal activities in these madrasas. 

Even a small increase in the number of madrasas is made out to look like an astronomical change by reports. Commenting on that Rajasthan’s DGP, Shantono Kumar said that their number has very much increased with the growth of population. 

Several other top ranking officials have also made similar admissions. It was just a couple of months ago when the Assam chief minister admitted that no madrasa in the state is found to be involved in any anti-national activity. He while talking in a party meeting of the Congress, added that there is no point in harassing madrasas on mere whims. The Assam chief minister also made a revelation that the BJP government at the centre was pressurizing him to take action against madrasas in the state. 

Earlier it were only the BJP governments in the centre and in UP which used to make brouhaha about these madrasas, but a new trend is seen where everyone trying to please the centre has started playing madrasa card. The W Bengal chief minister’s comments and his actions seemed to be on the same line. This new trend should alarm all the concerned people who used to blindly brand the communists as out of way secular. 

Congress governments in states also seem to be warming towards these allegations. The NCR government under Congress rule has also started talking of reforming madrasas. Delhi government has announced to launch a madrasa board in the National Capital Region to control and co-ordinate with madrasas. There are almost 1200 madrasas scattered in the NCR. 

Haroon Yusuf who is chairman of Delhi Waqf Board and was recently inducted in the state government as the development minister made this announcement in New Delhi. He said that after formation of madrasa board, it will become necessary for madrasas to include subjects taught in primary schools. He said that it will be done to ensure that students after coming out of madrasas are able to get admission in government run schools. He said the board would focus on imparting modern education along with religious education to the madrasa students. 

No body should deny the fact that madrasas need to be modernized, but this should be done in an open way. The inclusion of modern subjects is welcome and several madrasas have already started it.

There are also questions being raised as to why the Sangh Parivar which is advocating modernization of madrasas is not doing anything for its own shishu mandirs and other RSS affiliated educational institutions which are often accused of fanning communal abhorrence.

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