Tamil Nadu

Protests against move to demolish madrasa

Under threat: Madras-e-Azam Higher Secondary School for Boys, which is declared unsafe by the PWD.

Under threat: Madras-e-Azam Higher Secondary School for Boys, which is declared unsafe by the PWD.   | Photo Credit: V_GANESAN

Minister says school will not be shut

Muslim scholars and members of a few Muslim political parties stopped the demolition of the 170-year-old heritage building of Madrasa-e-Azam Higher Secondary School for Boys on Anna Salai late on Friday, claiming that the authorities had not given any notice.

The 21-acre property was gifted by the then Nawab of Arcot to Madrasa-e-Azam 300 years ago. Many scholars and saints studied there. According to a section of Muslims, the building had heritage value.

The structure had become weak because of poor maintenance and other reasons. The representatives of the parent-teacher association had appealed to the government to conserve the heritage part of the building.

However, the government started moves to demolish it at night. Alhough the contractors arrived at the venue with demolition equipment on Friday, they had to stop work owing to the protest.

Appollo Hanifa, co-ordinator, Tamizhaga Islamiya Iyakkangalin Kootuamaippu, said, “We Muslim brethren oppose and condemn the attempt of the government, on the sly at night, to demolish the property which was given for the sole purpose of educating poor Muslims. The members of the Wakf met the officials a few days ago and appealed to them to give up the plan of demolishing the property. Even the Education Minister promised to look into our plea. Within 15 days, the contract for demolition was given. We will not allow single brick to be removed from here.”

Stiff opposition

Syed Mansooruddin, hereditary trustee, Mount Road Dargah, said: “At least the PTA should have been informed. The maintenance of the property should be restored to the Nawabs of Carnatic Endowment or the superior body of all Muslim educational institutions. ”

The Public Works Department said the building was in a dilapidated condition.

The agitation lasted until the early hours of Saturday. Later, the Muslim representatives held talks with Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan. In a written statement to the groups following their meeting, Mr Sengottaiyan said that the school would continue functioning on the existing premises and that the PWD officials had visited the spot to inspect the building following reports of it being dilapidated.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 8:50:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/protests-against-move-to-demolish-madrasa/article21383107.ece

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