UP government ‘harass, exploit’ madrasa employees; salaries of many withheld

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Students at a madarsa in Mau Aima, Allahabad. Express photo by Ritesh Shukla
Students at a madarsa in Mau Aima, Allahabad. Express photo by Ritesh Shukla
Students at a madarsa in Mau Aima, Allahabad. Express photo by Ritesh Shukla
Students at a madarsa in Mau Aima, Allahabad. Express photo by Ritesh Shukla

By Muslim Mirror Desk,

Lucknow: Harassment of people working in madrasa in Uttar Pradesh has become a standard policy of the BJP-led state government officials, allege many teachers and administrators of religious seminaries in the state.

The alibi of the “ongoing harassment”, they alleged while talking to a news website – Newsclick, was the government directive that all madrasas must register themselves on a portal which the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath government launched in August and that the salaries of over several thousand employees working in 560 government aided madrasas will be released only after they get official clearance.

According to the data on the madrassa portal of the UP Board of Madrasa Education, there are 16,461 madrassas in the state, which includes 560 government-aided and 8,171 madrasas which are attached to the Madrassa Modernisation scheme run by the state. Every aided madrasa has about 10-15 teachers and they get Rs 4-5 lakh per year financial aid from the state government.

According to the Association of Teachers of Madaris-e-Arabia (AIATM), an organisation of madrassa teachers in the country, the teaching and non-teaching employees of madrasas in UP, were being “victimised and exploited” by the government officials over submission of documents and entry of details on the government website.

AIATM National General Secretary Wahidullah Khan said that the as a matter of practice state government officials have threatened to cancel registration of madrasa. Salaries of many madrasas hav been withheld because they were unable to fulfil such demands of decades old documents, he said.

He has written a letter to the chief minister Yogi Adityanath alleging that madrasas were being asked to provide documents which are “extremely difficult to provide”.

“The officials of minority welfare department is asking madrasa administrators to provide newspaper advertisements which were published to advertise a job which was filled up thirty years ago. In other cases, madrasa teachers have been asked to submit receipt of registered post from which they received their appointment letters. Teachers who have been working for decades can’t provide these documents. It seems that such demands are being made only to harass the staff, as such demands are not part of the rule book or the circular of any government department,” Khan said.

Rahul Gupta, the registrar of Uttar Pradesh Madrasa board, however, denied such demands being made from the madrasa board. He said that he was not aware of any such demands.

“When a teacher is appointed there are some documents to claim that appointment was made. We are asking only for the hard copy of that appointment letter or approval letter. The department officials are asking for the documents to verify the claims of the madrasa institutions,” Gupta said.

But the madrasa teachers disagreed with Mr. Gupta’s claims and said that the officials at the district level minority welfare departments were not aware of the nuances of madrasa education and how it evolved in Uttar Pardesh.

Deewan Saheb Zama, the state secretary of the madrassa teachers’ association explained his point to NewsClick and said, “Some fifty ago when madrasas were established in UP there was not much documentation required. It was largely very informal way in which madrasa institutions evolved without much government interference.”

“It was much much later that state government started providing aid to us. If the government wanted hard copy of all kinds of documents it should have asked at the moment when it shortlisted us to provide us with financial aid. Asking for the hard copy of all kinds of documents several decades later and holding salaries of hundreds of employees of madrasas, is being extremely unfair with us, he added.

“The situation right now is extremely grim for thousand of families of those working in the government aided madrasas. Their salaries have been withheld by the government because a letter from director of minority welfare in August said that budget from November 2017 to February 2018 will be distributed only through the madrassa portal,” claimed Zama who has written yet another letter to chief minister Yogi Adityanath over the issue.

According to officials of minority welfare department the State government decided to withhold aid to 46 madarsas across the state after it was found that they did not have the requisite infrastructure mandated by the rule to get the government aid. Thousands of madrasas are expected to face government action if they do not register themselves on the government website even if they do not intend to get the financial aid from the state.

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