Quran cannot be taught using government funds, says Assam Minister
Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that there should be no religious education with the government's funding. The state government has taken on state-run madrassas and Sanskrit tols (centers of learning). These institutions will either be shut down or converted into regular schools, Sarma said, adding that an official notification in this regard will be released in November.
'Want to bring uniformity,' the Minister said
Sarma said that the government wants to bring uniformity and the 'Quran' cannot be taught using government funds, ANI reported on Wednesday. "If we have to do so then we should also teach both the Bible and Bhagavad Gita. So, we want to bring uniformity and stop this practice," he was quoted as saying by the news agency.
State-run madrassas to be closed or converted into regular schools
Sarma said that all state-run madrassas will be converted into regular schools. In certain cases, the madrassas will be shut down and the teachers will be transferred to state-run schools, he added.
'Madrassas issue degrees equivalent to Matriculation, Higher Secondary'
Further, Sarma said, "There's another issue because these madrassas provide degrees. The government of Assam has declared this degree will be equivalent to Matriculation and Higher Secondary examination." He added, "That has created a huge impact because many people are getting certificates after graduating madrassas and they compete for jobs with other students who have passed Matriculation or Higher Secondary examination after hard work."
'Sufism, contribution of Islam to Indian civilization, already being taught'
"If people want to know Sufism and the contribution of Islam in Indian civilization, so all these things are already there in our educational system," Sarma said, adding that we cannot treat education in, say, Math or Science as equivalent to the study of Quran.
Assam disbanded madrassas, Sanskrit Tol Board in 2017
The state government had disbanded madrassas and the Sanskrit Tol Board and merged the two with the Secondary Board of Education in 2017. However, it now plans to shut them down entirely. Earlier, the state government had said that it will also introduce strict regulations to manage the functioning of private madrassas and Sanskrit tols across the state.
Assam to act tough on love jihad: Sarma
The ANI report also quoted Sarma as saying that the government plans to "act tough" against fraudulent interfaith marriages over the next five years. Assam will go to poll in 2021 and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has promised a "strict fight" against "love jihad"—a term used to describe a marriage between a Muslim man and a woman of another religion for religious conversion.
'Muslim boys create Facebook accounts as Hindus to deceive girls'
Sarma said, "Many Muslim boys create Facebook accounts with Hindu names and post pictures of themselves at temples. Once a girl gets married to such a boy, she discovers that he's not from the same religion. This is not a bonafide marriage."