Opposing any move to set up a central madrassa board, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind warned on Sunday that any attempt to meddle with traditional Islamic education system may lead to an "intense" backlash from the community.
"Madrassaa have been in existence for the last 150 years and have been running self-sufficiently without any problems," Jamiat president Syed Arshad Madani said addressing a gathering in Lucknow.
The government had last month said it will bring a Bill to set up a central madrassa board to which seminaries which are not registered with the state madrassa boards will be affiliated.
Recalling his meeting with Union Human Resources Minister Arjun Singh [Images], Madani claimed, "Arjun Singh told me
that there will be no interference in the activities of the madrassas, but I doubted Arjun's intention. If the government is really concerned about the welfare of the Muslims, then it should give 50 per cent reservation to Muslim students in universities like the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Milia University. Why is the government not setting up schools, colleges, medical colleges and ITIs in the Muslim dominated areas," Madani said.
Issuing a warning, Madani said, "You have seen the reaction after the demolition of Babri Masjid and if you try to play with the Madrassa system, the reaction will be more intense." Madani said that Jamiat will not allow anyone to
snatch the "Islamic life" which is imparted at the madrassas.
The government has already decided to treat madrassa qualification on par with Central Board of Secondary Examination to enable Muslim students to get Central government jobs. However, this benefit will also be available for those madrassas which are affiliated to the state madrassa boards existing in 10 states.
Lamenting the absence of Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party representative at the gathering, Madani said, "We had extended our invitation to all the political parties, but only Congress state chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi turned up.
"Now the need of the hour is to strengthen the democratic institutions in the country. Anti-secular feeling has percolated deep," said Arshad Madani. He also spoke against POTA like anti-terror laws and alleged that they were being misused in most of the cases.
"All the secular parties in India must unite and act fast before its too late and the country falls prey to opportunistic forces, whose sole aim is to wipe out secularism from this country," said Madani.
Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Batla House encounter in Delhi [Images], Madani said, "Through the CBI probe, the real face of the culprit will definitely emerge." Attacking former union home minister Shivraj Patil [Images], Madani alleged that "he was running RSS agenda"