New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who opposes madrassa education for children, said on Sunday that schools should provide modern education so that pupils can choose to pursue anything in the future and that religious education can be provided at home.
He claimed that anyone entering a religious organization should be of legal age to make their own decisions.
Speaking at a media conclave by RSS-linked weeklies Panchjanya and Organiser, Mr Sarma said children will not be willing to go to a madrassa if they are told that they won’t be able to become a doctor or engineer after studying there and claimed to admit them to such religious schools is a violation of human rights.
“Madrassa, the word itself, should cease to exist. Till this madrassa will be in mind, children can never become a doctor or an engineer.
“If you ask a child while admitting him to a madrassa…no children would agree. Children are admitted to madrassa by violating their human rights,” Sarma said.
After the event, Mr Sarma elaborated on his remarks saying that the education system in madrassas should be such that they can give students the choice to do anything in the future.
“Entry to any religious institution should be at an age where they can make their own decisions,” he told reporters.
”I always advocate for non-existence of madrassas where religious inculcation is given priority over formal education. Every child shall be exposed to the knowledge of Science, Mathematics and other branches of modern education,” Mr Sarma later tweeted.
Speaking at the event, Sarma said every child deserves to get formal education.
“Teach Quran at home, for hours, if you want, but at the school, a child deserves to be taught science and maths. Every child shall be exposed to the knowledge of Science, Mathematics and other branches of modern education,” the BJP leader said.
Mr Sarma made these remarks in response to a question about how madrassas may strengthen their educational offerings so that more professionals emerge from them.
When it was pointed out that students going to madrassas are brilliant as they memorise the Quran, Mr Sarma said, “…if a madrassa going child is meritorious, it is because of his Hindu heritage…at one point of time all Muslims were Hindus.” Mr Sarma said Assam has ”36 per cent Muslim population, which are divided in three categories: indigenous Muslims, whose culture is similar to us, converted Muslims – we called them desi Muslim, they still do have Tulsi plant in their courtyard and migrated Muslims who identify themselves as Miya Muslims”.
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