“Madrasas will be kept out of RTE Act”

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal on Thursday held out the categorical assurance that madrasas would be kept out of the purview of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Mr. Sibal, who was addressing a large congregation of Muslim Ulema and educationists, said the exemption to madrasas and other minority educational institutions would be specified in a set of guidelines to be incorporated soon in the RTE Act.

Mr. Sibal said the Muslim fear that the Act would endanger madrasa education was unfounded in the context of the constitutional guarantees available to the community to establish and run their own educational institutions. “ Door door se hamara koi irada nahi hai (we will not dream of interfering in your rights),” he said.

The Minister's promise was met with deafening applause from the assembled Ulema and Muslim leaders who, through the morning, had kept up the chant of “threat to madrasas.” Speaker after speaker denounced the Act as an assault on the minority right to run educational institutions guaranteed by Article 30 of the Constitution. Many saw it as part of a world-wide design to target and subdue the community.

Not against the Act

However, a small section of speakers — among them the former Delhi State Minorities Commission chairman Kamal Farooqui, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind leader Mahmood Madani and Islamic scholar and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind leader Maulana Syed Jalauddin Umari — clarified that while they had serious misgivings about the Act's impact on Muslim religious education, they were not against the Act per se. Nor did they want to convey the impression that Muslims opposed universalisation of education.

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