Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan has stirred a new controversy by saying that madarsas do not produce people like Nathuram Godse or Pragya Singh Thakur, referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin and the Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker in the same breath.
Khan, known for making contentious comments, was asked to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new plan of connecting madarsas with mainstream education and providing scholarship to one crore Muslim students every year.
“Madarsas don’t breed those of Nathuram Godse’s nature or with a personality like Pragya Thakur. First announce that those propagating thoughts of Godse will be declared enemies of democracy, those convicted for terror activities won’t be rewarded,” Khan said in Rampur on Wednesday.
Pragya Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case and out on bail, won the recent Lok Sabha election from Bhopal as a BJP candidate. She remained in news throughout her election campaign for her provocative statements, including one on Godse, that the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi was a patriot.
Khan said that if the Union government wanted to help madarsas, then it should bring about improvements.
“Religious teaching is imparted at madarsas and English, Hindi and Maths are also taught. This has always been the case. If you want to help, improve standards, provide them funds for constructing/renovating their buildings and also furniture and mid-day meals,” the SP Member of Parliament from Rampur said.
Though Khan appeared critical of Centre’s scheme announced on Tuesday by Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, many Muslim clerics have welcomed it.
As per the Centre’s plan, madarsas in large number across the country would be connected with formal and mainstream education so that children studying there could also contribute in the development of society.
Madarsa teachers across the country would be given training in various institutions in subjects such as Hindi, English, Maths, Science and computers and the programme would be launched next month.
As part of its outreach to minorities, the Centre would give out five crore scholarships for education of minorities over the next five years and half of the beneficiaries would be girl students.
Modernisation of madarsas is in line with a plan that the Prime Minister had outlined during his election campaign in the 2014 when he said, “Hold a Quran in one hand and computer in the other.”