Yogi’s ministers divided over order to introduce dress code in Madrasas

Junior minority welfare and Haj Minister Mohsin Raza said the Yogi govt has a proposal to introduce a dress code in state-run madrasas, but senior minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhry denied such a move

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media
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Biswajeet Banerjee

The question which is doing the rounds in Uttar Pradesh is whether the Yogi Government has a proposal to introduce dress code in the state-run madrasas or not. While the Junior Minority Welfare and Haj Minister Mohsin Raza has said ‘yes’, the senior minister of the same department Laxmi Narayan Chaudhry has rejected Raza’s statement saying the government has no pending suggestions in this regard.

Minister of state for Minority Affairs Mohsin Raza created a political storm when he had stated that the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had decided to enforce a new dress code for students studying in madrasas affiliated to the State Madrasa Board.

“Our aim is to bring madrasas at par with other educational institutions. Till now, madrasa students wore white kurta-pyjama, which is more or less symbolic of a particular faith. We will soon propose a new dress code for them. With modern studies, students should also wear modern uniform,” he said.

He did not clarify what the new dress code would be but it is believed that students might be expected to wear trouser and shirt. “We are still to finalise dress code, its colour and pattern. Once we get the proposal we will place it before the government,” he said.

There are around 15,000 madrasas affiliated with Uttar Pradesh Board of Madrasa Education.

Calling upon Muslims to shed their minority mindset, the minister said, “Muslims should stop calling themselves as minorities and asked them not to be afraid of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modiji is not anti-Muslim.”

The controversy took a new turn when the senior minister in the Minority Welfare Ministry Laxmi Narayan Chaudhry issued a statement on Tuesday night saying that government has not formed any policy to change the dress-code of students in state-run madrasas.

“There is no policy or proposal pending with the government regarding imposing a dress code in the madrasas,” said Chaudhry in a terse message.

“Kurta, payjama and skull cap is the traditional dress of the students of madarsa. The Government should first focus on enhancing quality of education and payment of salaries to teachers then talk about other things like enforcing dress code for the students,” said Maulana Saif Abbas, Presdent Shia Chand Committee.

Even the Muslim clerics came in support of Chaudhry saying the announcement of junior minister is nothing but a gimmick ahead of 2019 elections.

“Kurta, payjama and skull cap is the traditional dress of the students of madarsa. The Government should first focus on enhancing quality of education and payment of salaries to teachers then talk about other things like enforcing dress code for the students,” said Maulana Saif Abbas, Presdent Shia Chand Committee.

“Changing dress would be an insult to Islamic seminaries,” he said.

With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the BJP was trying to dent into the Muslim vote bank and was trying its best to project the PM as a well wisher of Muslims. The state government has made changes in the syllabus to connect madarsas with mainstream education system, following which NCERT books were made mandatory.

The HRD ministry is working on a plan to revamp madarsa education in the country under Scheme to Provide Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM). Under this, institutions would have to get affiliated to either Madarsa Boards or State boards to be eligible for Central government funds.

The government is also planning to map madarsas in the country based on their Global Positioning System.

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