In yet another move to target Muslim votes, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has invited the managers and principals of madrasas from across the state for a one-day conference in Lucknow Tuesday reportedly for an interaction and to inquire about their grievances and demands.
Majority of the madrasa teachers are clerics and are revered in their areas. Their assembly in Lucknow, where they may be offered some sops, is seen as state government’s attempt to send a message to the Muslim community, which has become apprehensive after Muzaffarnagar communal riots.
Sources confirmed that the district minority welfare officer (DMWO) in every district has been asked to ensure presence of manager and principal of each of the aided madrasas in their district in the conference, which will be also addressed by minority welfare minister Azam Khan.
“For past two years, I have lost count of the representation given to Akhilesh Yadav government for redressal of problems of madrasa teachers. No action has been taken so far. We are happy that with elections approaching, government will now consider our demands,” Israel Qureshi, president, Teachers Association Madaris-e-Arabia, UP, said.
“Perhaps they also want us to sing praises for them during elections. No agenda has been specified in the invitation received by us,” he added.
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There are 492 aided madrasas in the state. Samajwadi Party (SP) in its election manifesto had promised to set up special Urdu medium schools in Muslim dominated areas and to provide special budget for imparting technical education in madrasas. “Nothing has happened so far, but we heard that they will increase the honorarium of technical instructors in existing madarsas during the conference,” Qureshi said.
He also claimed that SP government had promised to include 75 madrasas every year in the list of grant in-aid, but none has been selected in two years.
Zainus Sajidin, the chairman of Arbi Farsi Madarsa Board, claimed that state government has taken the initiative for the redressal of madrasa teachers’ problems. “Now, if we do anything, it will be linked to the elections. We meet them regularly, but this time it will be a joint conference of managers and teachers. We are working sincerely towards sorting out their problems. It is an effort to hear the problems directly from madrasa teachers,” Sajidin said. He himself is Shaher (city) Qazi of Meerut district. He denied that state government is insensitive towards various problems in providing aid to madrasas. “None of the madrasas was included in aided list in two years as we have started their physical verification of madrasas to avoid fraud. Several madrasas do not fulfil required norms,” he added.