New India does not need madrasas, says Assam CM, adding that he intends to shut down all such religious schools in the state.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Assam, which has converted 600 public-funded madrasas or Islamic schools into general schools, intends to close all such religious schools in the northeastern state, said chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Sarma, who is seen as an emerging Hindutva icon, said that the new India envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not need religious teachings.
“New India does not need madrassas,” he told a gathering at the inauguration of a light and sound show on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Belagavi of poll-bound Karnataka on Thursday evening.
“Someone asked me – you shut down 600 madrasas, what is your intention? I said I intend to close all madrasas. We don’t need madrassas. We need schools, colleges and universities to produce doctors and engineers. New India does not need madrasas,” the BJP leader said.
Last year, the Sarma government shut down 600 madrasas in Assam that were funded by the state government but spared those run privately. The move was challenged in the Gauhati high court, which upheld it.
Sarma said that the time has come for India to write its “distorted” history in a new way.
“I come from Assam, which faces the threat of infiltration from Bangladesh every day. There is a threat to our culture and traditions. We have to transform our education system,” said Sarma.
जिस भूमि पर छत्रपति शिवाजी, स्वामी विवेकानंद और गांधीजी आये हों, वह भूमि कितनी पवित्र है, मैं ये भलीभांति समझ सकता हूं।
यहां आकर मन को ऐसी अनुभूति हो रही है जैसे मैं एक तीर्थयात्रा पर निकला हूं। pic.twitter.com/AoO8Ho0qFJ
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) March 16, 2023
Launching fresh salvos at his former party Congress, Sarma said the grand old party represents “new Mughals”.
“Congress is trying to weaken India as Mughal invaders did… Why do you speak in favour of Babri Masjid and not for Ram Mandir?” he asked.
Declaring that PM Modi was leading a “new India” which is determined to reclaim its culture, traditions and shrines, the Assam CM said, “People try to create differences among us. But we should know that we are Hindus and Indians. Only Sanatan dharma can make this country stronger.”
Sarma said he wants people who say ‘I am a proud Hindu’ just like Muslims are proud of their religion and identity, and Christians are proud of theirs.