The Indian government’s efforts to set up a central madrassa education board to introduce modern education in the 30,000 madrassas of the country were stonewalled on Saturday when a meeting of 59 Muslim MPs failed to reach a consensus.
However, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Kapil Sibal, who presided over the meeting, claimed the MPs could reach consensus at future meetings. “This was just a beginning. We have noted the concerns raised by the MPs and we will continue discussions,” he said in his concluding remarks.
During the meeting, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) lone Muslim face, Syed Shanawaz Hussain, questioned the structure of the education board overseeing madrassas, claiming that its representation from various sects, such as Deobandi, Barelvi and Ahl-i-Hadith, was a conspiracy to divide Muslims. “It is wrong to have Sunnis, who constitute 98 percent of the Muslim population, represented by a single member with the same voting power as Khojas, who are miniscule in number,” he said.
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