Government-run madrassas in Assam will not be allowed to keep their institutions closed on Fridays and during the month of Ramzan as it is against government rules, state Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said. However, the madrassas in the state will be allowed one-hour break on Friday for prayers. The minister said there is no law in India which recognises Friday as a holiday.
Making it clear that there cannot be two holidays in a week for madrassas, the minister said that as the teachers get salary for working on Fridays from the government they cannot on their own give unrecognised and unscheduled holidays going against government sanctions.
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The state government would soon issue an order for the madrassas to remain open on Fridays as per rules, Sarma said.
“This Friday holiday is not officially recognized. We will not allow the closure of madrassas on Fridays. We will make provisions for one hour break for jumma namaz’ (Friday prayer) to be offered instead of a day’s holiday for it as there is no official sanction for this”.
“If the madrassas want a holiday on Friday besides Sunday holiday, they could give a representation to the effect to the state government which will forward it to the Central government for action,” Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting.
Observing that this trend was being observed especially in Lakhimpur, Nagaon and Morigaon districts, he said, “Fridayis neither an officially recognised holiday nor is it a government-scheduled holiday. Sunday is the government-scheduled holiday”.
At a press meet, the minister had said, “As far as I know, there is no law in India which recognises Friday as a holiday. No circular was also issued by the Assam government about a Friday holiday. We are not against any religion. We are only enforcing the law”.
On former Congress minister Siddique Ahmed’s comment that the minister’s move was a “communally divisive agenda” and hisappeal to Muslims to boycott Sarma’s public meetings, the minister said every religion in India has government -recognised scheduled holidays on days of religious significance.