While the Sheila Dikshit government had talked about empowering Muslims, it had delayed for several months the Delhi Minority Commission’s (DMC) recommendation to constitute a Madrassa Board. The Board was to help Muslims in smooth transition to modern education.

After surveying the madrassas across Delhi, a report by the State minority panel had concluded that the majority of them had demanded the formation of a Board.

The Board was to ensure financial and technical aid by the State Government to the institutions registered under it for enhancement of their infrastructure and human resources and technical and modern education.

The minority panel, which spent over six months in studying the issue of modernisation, had submitted its report to the Sheila Dikshit government in May 2013. But the government sat on the proposals till it was finally ousted in the elections which were conducted in December last year, alleged Ansar Raza of the Ghareeb Nawaz Foundation that went to court on the issue.

According to rough estimates, there are over 800 madrassas in Delhi. A board exists in about only 10 States.

While DMC chairperson Safdar H. Khan waits for the next government to act upon his recommendations, he was unsparing in his criticism of the Sheila Dikshit government.

Mr. Raza along with a large number of madrassa institution heads had petitioned Ms. Dikshit to get a Board constituted.

“But there are politically influential Muslim groups, running several religious institutions and earning crores of rupees, who do not want to allow any government interference lest it should impact their monopoly. These groups got Ms. Dikshit to postpone the constitution of a board,” alleged Mr. Raza.

It was after Mr. Raza approached the Delhi High Court demanding formation of a Board that the last overnment had ordered the Delhi Minority Commission to carry out a survey.

More than 70 per cent of the madrassas surveyed demanded a Board through which they could get State aid. The survey result was contrary to the popular perception in the Muslim community that religious institutions are completely averse to the idea of State help which a section of Muslim community also consider “interference”.

While highlighting the Congress Government’s failure to address their demands, Mr. Raza alleges “dirty politics” by that government.

Mr. Raza, who is planning to approach the High Court again if the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor does not act upon the report, said if a Board is constituted it would mean that small religious institutions would be entitled to get State grant and recognition which would help their students get modern education along with traditional religious teachings.

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