Prominent Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband said on Sunday it had no objection to the Uttar Pradesh government’s investigation into private madrassas, but that the whole system of such institutions should not be vilified when some did not play by the rules.
At a conference of representatives of various madrassas held in Deoband to discuss the polling issue, the seminary’s rector, Maulana Arshad Madani, claimed that the madrassas operate under the country’s constitution.
A 12-member steering committee was formed during the conference, the aims of which are to assist the madrassa authorities during the survey and to take their grievances, if any, to the government.
Madani, who is also president of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind and vice-president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, previously criticized the government’s survey of Islamic religious schools.
Speaking to reporters after the conference, Madani said he asked all madrassa leaders to cooperate in the survey as they had nothing to hide.
He called on the management to provide the officials with precise information and, in addition to ensuring cleanliness in their premises, also to have documents such as property papers and inspection reports ready.
He said if a madrasah was built illegally on government land and the court has ruled it illegal, Muslims should remove it themselves as the Shariyat does not allow it.
At the same time, he urged the government not to disregard the entire madrassa system if one or two institutions break the rules.
Madni also said that the sacrifices made by the madrasahs in the freedom movement must not be forgotten.
Heavy security was in place for the conference and the media was kept out.
On August 31, the Uttar Pradesh government ordered investigations into all unrecognized private madrassas operating in the state and appropriate teams were formed.
Under the order, teams were asked to complete the survey by October 15 and submit the report to the government within 10 days of that.
About 16,000 private madrassas currently operate in the state, including the world-famous Nadwatul Ulama and Darul Uloom Deoband.
Following the government’s decision, several madrassa operators expressed concerns about the survey.
Earlier, Madani questioned why only one survey was conducted among madrassas.
“If the survey of madrassas is necessary, then why not of other educational institutions? Religious education is given in madrassas, and we have been given that right by the country’s constitution.
“There is no place for terrorism here. The existence of Koran schools serves the development of the country. The doors of the Koran schools are always open to everyone,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
At a Sept. 6 meeting of Jamiat-Ulama-e-Hind, a prominent group of Muslim scholars and clerics, in Delhi, she decided to support the government in the poll but called for no interference in her internal affairs.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)