A government-aided madrasa in Bihar Sharif is facing protests for “not allowing admission to girls” in various classes in already-delayed 2014-15 session. Madrasa Azizia, affiliated to Bihar State Madarsa Education Board, provides education from Class I to Masters and is one of a few madrasas in the state which have co-education facility.
The madrasa management, however, is claiming that they are not discontinuing education to girls, but are only trying to hold separate classes for boys and girls to ensure “female safety”.
Over 50 students had staged a protest outside the Islamic institution, alleging that the administration “cited Sharia for not allowing co-education”.
“Bringing down the number of students in a class was the first step towards disallowing girls’ admission,” alleged a parent. However, in the current session, the madrasa has enrolled over 500 students, of whom 286 were girls.
Bihar has around 3,600 government-aided madrasas, of which 2,459 madrasas were being given grant since September 2010.
No formal complaint so far has been registered against the Bihar Sharif madrasa with the state education board or the Nalanda district administration. S M Sharaf, new-joined secretary of the institution, told The Indian Express, “I have not cited any religious reasons for separate classes for boys and girls. There is no question of not allowing girls. But, the number of students is fixed in each class… There are racketeers who want bulk admission only for degrees. I am against this. Some people with vested interest have been giving it religious overtones.”
Asked if he was guided by the Sharia to take separate classes, he said: “In-principle, every madarsa is guided by Shariat laws. But I want a better arrangement for girls and want separate classes from Class I to PG course, primarily for security reasons… I do not have to refer to Shariat laws to silence my critics.”