The cat is out of the bag, action will be taken against “unrecognized” madrasas
The contentious madrasa survey in Uttar Pradesh has now turned out to be a political one as the BJP-led state administration instructed officials to take “as per law” action against “unrecognized” madrasas. While earlier the state government had maintained that the survey would only be used to improve the level of education in the madrasas.
Even 154-year-old internationally renowned Darul Uloom Deoband is also referred to as an “illegal” madrasa in the survey report. This classification has outraged Darul Uloom Deoband’s administration and religious scholars. They lodged a strong protest with the state government for being termed as “illegal” by the Minority Welfare department after the survey. They called for “rectification of the wrong message that has gone out”.
Muslim groups and leaders said the mala-fide-hidden intentions of the survey have come to the fore and it is a part of the Hindutva agenda.
Ashraf Usmani, the spokesperson of the Islamic seminary, told Islamic Voice that we have registered a strong protest with the state government for dubbing Darul Uloom as “illegal” by the district officials in the report.
“Darul Uloom is registered under the Societies Registration Act, and both religious and modern education is imparted here as envisaged in the Constitution of India. There is no question of it being illegal,” he said.
The UP Madarsa Education Board also came out in support of the Islamic seminary saying such a message is being circulated in the world.
Board Chairman Iftikar Ahmad Javed said, “It is sad that this kind of message is being spread. Darul Uloom is an Islamic University that gives affiliated with over 4,000 madrasas all over the country. It is registered under the Societies Act, and it propagates religious philosophy and ideology to half the Muslims of the world called Deobandis. ‘Unrecognized’ is not synonymous with illegal.”
However, Maulana Niyaz Ahmad Farooqi, Jamiat Ulema Hind (M) leader and convener of the Madrasa Steering Committee, claimed that referring to Darul Uloom as an “illegal madrasa” is a pro-Hindutva media deception because the survey report used the term “unrecognized” instead of “illegal” to describe madrasas.
While speaking with Islamic Voice, he noted that the Indian Constitution does not contain any provisions requiring the registration of any madrasa. Madrasas are part of registered trusts or societies, he underlined.
Echoing Farooqi’s words, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali said: “No issue of legality exists in this situation. A madrasa can operate in one of three ways. It operates by the mandate provided to minorities under Article 30 of the Indian Constitution, or it is registered under the Societies Act or Trust Act. None of the three laws come from outside of India.” Maulana Mahali, who is the Imam of Aishbagh Eidgah in Lucknow and an executive member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, further said children of marginalized sections of society receive free education, boarding, and accommodation from Darul Uloom Deoband. They pay for everything out of pocket. It does not rely on funding from government organizations.”
It is to be noted that the District minority welfare officer in Saharanpur, Bharat Lal Gaur, had said, “Even Darul Uloom is not registered with UP Madarsa Board and hence it is not recognized, and so students of the seminary cannot avail government schemes and scholarships.”
Gaur said that 306 madrasas in the district were not recognized, making a total of 754 madrasas that were registered in Saharanpur and Deoband is a part of the district.
“An investigation was conducted based on specifications provided by the Administration, such as the madrasa’s founding year, its operating society, name, and its source of funding,” he said and added that “Whatever action the administration takes, a complaint will be made based on that action.”
A state-wide survey of madrasas or schools that teach Islamic religious education was ordered by the state government in September. According to a survey report that District Magistrates provided to the state government, throughout the state, around 8,441 privately run, unrecognized, and unregistered madrasas have been found. It is not a final list of ‘unrecognized’ madrasas which will be released only after all the district magistrates submit their reports. The survey based on a 12-point questionnaire was started on September 10 in 75 districts of the state.
A government spokesman claims that Gorakhpur has 150 unofficial madrasas; Lucknow, Azamgarh, Varanasi, and Mau each have 100, while Aligarh has 90, Kanpur has 85, Prayagraj has 70, and Agra has 35. The highest number of ‘unrecognized’ madrasas was found in the Moradabad district.
The survey is being done to provide recognition to ‘unrecognized’ madrasas once they meet the government-mandated requirements.
Dharampal Singh, the state’s minister for minority welfare, Muslim Waqf, and Haj, claimed to have ordered department staff to post a list of all madrasas that are not officially recognized on the department portal and the MELA app so that parents can get accurate information about any given madrasa and avoid sending their kids to misleading institutions by sending them to the wrong schools.
The ministry reported that 8,441 ‘unrecognized’ madrasas with roughly 7, 64,164 pupils enrolled, including both boys and girls, were found during the survey.
“These children are the future of our nation, and it is essential that they have access to modern education to guarantee that they are linked with mainstream society,” he said, adding that the department had also been able to determine the ways of funding for the unrecognized madrasas, and in the majority of cases, contributions and zakat were the main sources of support.
Singh instructed officials to act so that minority community children might receive an education by the new education rules.
The Minister also warned that ‘unrecognized’ madrasas should be subject to legal action, and a presentation outlining every unrecognized madrasa that has so far been detected must be made.
The survey report would be presented before Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the coming days.
Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, Chairman of, the Board of Madrasa Education, stated that teams in 75 districts had assessed 7,500 such madrasas by October 20. However, it may take some time to determine the precise figures.
“In Uttar Pradesh, there are 16,513 recognized madrassas, out of which 560 are given government grants (salary to employees, including teaching and non-teaching ones). There are 350 madrassas with less than 15 students. The teaching staff of 560 madrassas have pay scales similar to those in central government-run secondary schools…,” he said.
It is being said that once the unrecognized madrasas fulfill the government’s stipulated conditions, such as having a classroom, table, bench, chairs for pupils, sufficient lighting, fans, restrooms, and other essentials, they will be recognized by the Board of Madrasa Education.
Additionally, they will be eligible to apply for both teaching and non-teaching employee salaries.
As part of the madrasa modernization program of the Union Education Ministry, 744 madrassas in the state are awarded funding for Shiksha Mitra. However, the ministry does not pay the salary of the Shiksha Mitra or assistant teachers in time which lingers for months. For pay, these teachers have repeatedly knocked on the ministry’s door in Delhi.
There are several factors behind the mushrooming of madrasas in the state including economic dynamics and the denial of primary and secondary education to Muslim children in their mother tongue Urdu. Instruction in Urdu medium was banned in UP soon after the Independence in order to promote Hindi.
However, Maulana Farooqi admitted that there are many shortcomings in the madrasa education system.
We are working to address these issues and provide our kids with a modern education so they may confidently transition into the next life, he added.