Indian Court Bans Madrasas In Uttar Pradesh

This contentious decision comes before India's general election, which is scheduled for April to June.

Indian Court Bans Madrasas In Uttar Pradesh

A court in India on Friday outlawed madrasas (Islamic schools) in the country's most populous state ahead of national elections, potentially driving Indian Muslims farther away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist administration. 

The legislation, which has controlled madrasas in Uttar Pradesh (UP) since 2004, was overturned following a verdict that found constitutional secularism breaches and ordered children to be transferred to normal schools, according to Reuters. 

According to Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, president of the Uttar Pradesh madrasa education board, the Allahabad High Court judgment affects 2.7 million pupils and 10,000 professors in 25,000 madrasas, where one-fifth of the 240 million population are Muslims.

"The state government shall also ensure that children between the ages of 6 and 14 years are not left without admission in duly recognized institutions," Judges Subhash Vidyarthi and Vivek Chaudhary said in their judgment, which was issued in response to an appeal by lawyer Anshuman Singh Rathore. 

This contentious decision comes before India's general election, which is scheduled for April to June and is largely predicted to be won by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

Muslims and rights groups have accused some BJP members and associates of spreading anti-Islamic hate speech and vigilantism, as well as damaging Muslim-owned homes.

The BJP says that the government is righting historical wrongs, such as recently building a Hindu temple on the site of a 16th-century mosque that was demolished in 1992, which many Hindus think was constructed over a temple demolished by Mughal king Babur. According to Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi, the court was not anti-madrasas but rather concerned about Muslim kids' education. 

"We are not against madrasas, but we are against discriminatory behaviors. We are against unlawful funding, and the government will decide on further steps after reviewing the court's judgment." 

Meanwhile, Modi's office remains unresponsive to the court verdict.