BJP legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar has called upon Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to show courage to shut down all government-funded madrassas in the state and prove his Hindutva.
“The Chief Minister of Maharashtra who says he does not need anyone’s certificate to prove his Hindutva credentials should take a courageous step to shut down the state-funded madrasas that propagate radical religious teachings,” Bhatkhalkar said in a letter sent to him.
He added that the state government should immediately stop the financial aid to them and the clerics and give direct assistance to students in the form of scholarships to bring them into the mainstream.
The BJP has escalated its attack on Thackeray following a war of words between him and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari after the latter wrote to the CM seeking to reopen of places of worship in the state and asked the Shiv Sena chief whether he has suddenly turned secular.
Thackeray on Tuesday responded to Koshyari’s letter saying he will consider the request but asserted he does not need the governor’s certificate for “my Hindutva”.
Bhatkhalkar also said students from the Muslim community should be offered a direct scholarship so that they can attend mainstream schools.
Maharashtra minority affairs minister Nawab Malik on Friday hit out at Bhatkhalkar saying that the issue had been raised by the BJP with a political and vengeful motive to divide people and wondered why the latter did not take a step in this direction when it was in power till 2019.
In a video message, Malik said the state government gives honorarium of Rs 5,000 per month to educators to teach subjects like Maths, Marathi, Hindi and English to madrasa students to bring them into the mainstream.
This scheme was in place during the time of the Devendra Fadnavis government as well and the BJP should introspect before making such a demand now, the NCP minister said. “This demand is being raised with a political motive.
Assam government has also decided to close government-funded madrassas in the state.
Commenting on the development, Islamic organisation chief Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind chief Arshad Madani urged madrassas to stop relying on government funding because it leads to increasing state control on the madrassas.
“95 per cent madrassas in the country are self-reliant [funded by money donated by people]. The remaining ones should also do the same” Madani was quoted by Inquilab.