A year after being exonerated by the Supreme Court in the 2002 Akshardham terror attack case, Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri is set to open a school at Kalupur, a Muslim-dominated are in Ahmedabad. As one of the trustees of Idara Falah-ul-Muslim Trust that will run Suffah English School, Mansuri formally announced his decision during a programme at Dariyapur Sunday that was also attended by former Director General of Police (DGP) R B Sreekumar. Sreekumar, who had several run-ins with the Gujarat government following his depositions before the Nanavati Commission probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots, was invited as the chief guest.
The trustees of the school said that they wanted to “safeguard” their children from the growing saffronisation of education without keeping them away from English-medium education”. They said it was also an attempt to preserve their culture as after school hours, all students will be given madrasa teaching for one-and-a half-hour daily.
To begin with, Suffah English-medium co-education school will commence from June 15 with four classes – three pre-primary (nursery and junior and senior kindergarten) and Class I with total seven sections. With a capacity of nearly 185 students, 25-30 in each class, the school will run from a rented eight-room building at Kalupur’s Karoda pol.
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“In the name of education, history is being re-created in textbooks and curriculum. Schools are trying to give saffronised education from which we wanted to safeguard our children. At the same time, we wish to give our children education relevant to today’s time and prepare them for every competition. The need for an English-medium school is as much as there is a need for a madrasa. Thus, a mix of both the education – English and madrasa,” said Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri.
Mansuri was accused of providing logistics support to terrorists in the September 2002 terrorist attack on Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. In the attack, 32 people, including temple visitors and three commandos (one from National Security Guard) were killed.
Mansuri was convicted by a POTA court in July 2010, but the Supreme Court acquitted six accused, including Mansuri, from all charges in the case on May 16, 2014. The school is affiliated to the state board and will see one class being upgraded every year. “Since this is a temporary arrangement, we are looking for our own bigger building in Kalupur and Dariyapur areas. Despite being affiliated to Gujarat board, we will have one or two books of central board as well and similarly, the English-medium school will also teach Gujarati as a subject to students,” added Mansuri.
The chairman of the trust, Mufti Rizwan Saudagar, said this was the first school to be run by the trust. Aftab Alam Sheikh has been appointed as the school principal. Other trustees and education committee members include Mufti Sajid Falahi from Bhavnagar, Salman Mumtaz Masalawala from Kalupur, Maulana Ahmad Patni from Jamalpur, Mufti Abu Bakar from Patan, Noorbeig Mirza from Dariyapur and Samir Sheikh from Dariyapur.