After almost a year of deliberations, the Maharashtra government has rolled out its “deradicalisation policy” for Muslim youth. The initiative is being called “Guidelines regarding, Economic, Social and Education Development of Minority Youth and Remedy for positive change.”
“For ensuring the integration of boys and girls from the minority community into the mainstream of development is necessary to create an awakening among them and explain to them the hurdles in their development. It is also necessary to facilitate a positive change in them and increase their role in social development,” the policy states. It also lists the steps that each department should take to ensure better integration of the community.
For schools, the policy says the school education department should draft such chapters in the syllabus that teach the essence and “true teachings”of every religion. “Include chapters in text books with the aim of inculcating ideas essential for a democratic society as per the provisions of the Constitution. Also include chapters which will help in increasing tolerance in society,” it says.
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According to the policy note, there is a high dropout rate of Muslim students in Classes V to VII. To address this, the policy envisages the department identifying four minority-dominated districts for running a pilot project to bring down the dropout rate to zero. It has also suggested increased hiring of teachers from the minority community and greater efforts in involving minority students in extra-curricula activities, besides ensuring that schools promote the learning of Marathi in minority schools,
“Students from Urdu schools are not adept in Marathi, which creates a sense of inferiority within them. To remove this complex increase the usage of Marathi language in Urdu schools and run campaigns to inspire students to learn Marathi,” the policy states.
For the higher education department, it speaks about increasing the number of colleges in minority areas. It also calls for ensuring greater participation of Muslims in activities such as the National Services Scheme.
“Draft programmes to ensure increased exchange of views between minority and other students. Plan programmes where people have to stay together to carry out activities,” the policy states. It envisages continuous counselling of the wards of parents from the community.
On the development of minority areas, it wants the urban development department to identify five minority areas in Mumbai and 10 in the state every year and ensure that government policies are successfully implemented here. It also seeks that adequate water supply and sanitation be maintained in minority-dominated areas. The policy gives a total of 52 directives to eight departments, including school education, higher education, urban development, skill development, women and child welfare, public health, social justice and minority development.
In the backdrop of rising cases of Muslim youth from the state trying to get in touch with organisations such as the ISIS, the Maharashtra government had decided to take steps to address the grievances of the community.
Muslims constitute 10.6 per cent of Maharashtra’s population.