India’s apex child rights body has asked all states and union territories to conduct a detailed investigation into the functioning of government-funded/recognised madrasas admitting non-Muslim students.
In a letter to chief secretaries of states and UTs, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said the inquiry should include physical verification of children attending such madrasas.
“The commission has received complaints about non-Muslim children attending madrasas — schools primarily imparting religious education. Why should non-Muslim children be admitted to madrasas for schooling? If any madrasa does not impart religious education, then students admitted there should be taken out and admitted to other schools,” NCPCR chief Priyank Kanoongo told The New Indian.
After conducting the enquiry, the governments should get non-Muslim students admitted to normal schools for formal education, he wrote in the letter.
The letter also recommended the governments undertake mapping of all unmapped madrasas at the earliest.
It also sought a copy of the “action taken report” within 30 days “for records and further appropriate necessary action”.
“On perusal of various complaints received by the commission from different sources, it is noted that children belonging to non-Muslim community are attending government-funded recognised madrasas,” the letter read.
“Further, it is also learnt by the commission that some State/UT governments are providing them with scholarships too. This is a clear-cut violation and contravention of Article 28(3) of the Constitution of India that prohibits educational institutions from obligating the children to take part in any religious instruction, without the consent of the parent,” the letter said.
For the last few months, the NCPCR has been keeping a strict vigil on violation of relevant rules in the functioning of madrasas in different parts of the country.
In early October, the child rights body said that it had found two illegally-built ‘mazars’ inside a government school in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh, and recommended the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government remove them.
During a survey, the NCPCR also discovered that singing the national anthem was banned and students were granted weekly leave on Friday in the CM Rise School of Kurwai in Vidisha.