Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Row over Deoband circular on English

As the controversy over the Darul Uloom Deoband circular that bans students from learning English continues to gather steam, the renowned Islamic seminary has clarified that the circular issued by Maulana Hussain Hardwari, in-charge of education section, has been ‘misinterpreted and deliberately blown out of proportion’.

Following notice by the UP Minorities Commission and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to the seminary, a senior BJP leader of the party’s minority wing has said that he would visit the seminary for a fact-check too.

Javed Malik, BJP’s minority wing in-charge in west Uttar Pradesh, said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he wanted Muslim students to have Quran in one hand and a laptop in the other. The BJP is all for imparting modern education to enable a progressive attitude among madrasa students. However, going by what we hear, the seminary’s attempts to stop students from studying any language are reprehensible. We will visit the seminary for a fact-check.”

In his circular, Hardwari restricted students from studying English while being enrolled at the institute and warned them that violation could lead to expulsion.

“We have summoned Deoband seminary’s officials to the commission’s Lucknow office on June 21,” said Ashraf Saifi, the chairman of the state’s minority commission.

Priyank Kanoongo, the chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, told reporters that he felt that Saharanpur administration officials have not acted firmly against the seminary.

“They are repeat offenders. In the past too, we had issued notices to them over fatwas. If only the Saharanpur administration acted a bit firmly against the seminary, things would be different,” said Kanoongo.

UP minorities’ commission chairperson, Ashraf Saifi, said that he has written to the seminary through Dinesh Chandra, the district magistrate of Saharanpur.

Bharat Lal Gond, Saharanpur’s district minorities officer, said he has not received any orders from the government so far to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, Maulana S. Rashidi, a spokesman for Deoband, criticised those who were spewing venom.

“A circular meant only for Deoband’s students has created a needless controversy. For the past 15 years, Deoband has been running courses in English and Computers. This circular was only meant for students who receive free-of-cost education, stay, and medical facilities from Deoband. The issue/circular was for students who enrol with Deoband for studying Islamic jurisprudence. They usually enrol with some outside body for studying other subjects. What is wrong with that?” he asked.

He further said, “A section of intellectuals is deliberately out to twist and tweak the entire issue. Only 2 per cent of students are enrolled in madrasas. The Constitution permits minorities to set up educational institutes based on language and religion. So, some ministers are making needless controversy. Such hatred-spewing acts appear to be part of the political discourse now.”

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