Hours after Uttar Pradesh Minister of State Mohsin Raza claimed that the state government might “soon propose a new dress code” for madrassa students, his senior ministerial colleague rejected the statement, saying that “the government has not formed any new policy” in this regard. Cabinet minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary tonight tweeted, “Madarso mein dress code ko lekar sarkar ne koi nayi niti nirdharit nahi ki hai. Iss vishay ko lekar vibhaag ka koi mat nahi hai (The government has not formed any new policy pertaining to the dress code of the madrassas. On this issue, there is no view of the department).”
Chaudhary is the Cabinet Minister for Minority Welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj. Earlier in the day, the Minister of State for Muslim Waqf and Haj, Mohsin Raza, said, “The aim of the UP government is to bring madrassas at par with other educational institutions in every sense. Till now, students in madrassas have been wearing ‘kurta-payjamas’ but now this dress code will make it more formal… We might also try to meet the expenses,” said Raza.
Stressing that it is only the BJP-led governments which have doing justice with the minorities, the minister said the other political parties have been considering them as only a vote-bank. Raza said the current dressing style of madrassa students reflects a clear demarcation between them and the students of other schools which will come to an end now. The government’s move, however, evoked a mixed reaction from the community leaders with one section welcoming it cautiously but the other questioning the need to tinker with the madrassa students traditional attire.
“We will welcome it, if it is good, but only after seeing what the changes are and with what intentions they are being brought,” said UP unit president of the Jamait Ulema-e-Hind, Ashhad Rashidi, who runs a number of madrassas in Moradabad, Rampur and Bijnore. The spokesperson for All India Shia Personal Law Board, Yasoob Abbas, however, questioned the need for bringing a change in the traditional attire worn in madrassas.
“Who has objected to the traditional attire… it is acceptable by all… we are not in favour of the government forcing a new dress for students,” Abbas said.
The state government has already gone ahead with its plans to introduce NCERT books in the madrassas of Uttar Pradesh in a bid to bring their students at par with their counterparts in other schools and to modernise education in madrassas affiliated to the State Madrassa Board. “Till now, students in madrassas wear white kurta-pyjama, which reflects a particular faith. We will very soon propose a new dress code for them,” the minister said. Raza, however, refused to elaborate as to what the new dress code would be.