Terming Maharashtra government's decision to grant funds for modernisation of the teaching system at madrasas (Islamic seminaries) as unconstitutional, state BJP asked if the government could guarantee that religious education won't be imparted at funded institutions.
"The state government has decided to allocate funds to institutions which impart religious teaching. There is no precedent of government funds being granted for religious teaching," state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.
"Will the state government guarantee that the madrasas getting funds desist from imparting religious education," Bhandari said.
"Those managing madrasas are ulemas, who are key voters. This means the decision is an attempt to appease key voters," Bhandari said, adding that the decision was against the Constitution.
Of the 1,800 madrasas in the state, only 200 were registered, he said. Instead of giving funds to them, the government should give funds for improving around 3,000 Urdu-medium primary schools in the state, he said.
The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra has approved a proposal aiming at modernisation of madrasas and their linking with the mainstream educational system. The cabinet has given nod to the proposal by the Minorities Department for allocation of Rs 10 crore in the ongoing academic year.
The decision, coming ahead of next year's Assembly elections, was greeted with criticism by opposition parties, which accused the government of trying to appease minorities.
It is estimated that around two lakh children study in madrasas in the state.