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Assam minister angers Muslims with edict

Assam’s Finance, Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has angered Muslims by saying “madrasas will have to function on Fridays like any other institutes.

Published: 31st December 2016 11:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st January 2017 12:53 PM   |  A+A-

A madrasa in Assam

GUWAHATI: Assam’s Finance, Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has angered Muslims by saying “madrasas will have to function on Fridays like any other institutes. If any madrasa is found violating the directive, its principal will be placed under suspension”. His directive will hit  the state’s over 1,000 madrasas.

He also said that Assam’s BJP-led coalition government is contemplating a two-child population policy. Parents of more than two children would neither get state government jobs nor qualify to contest elections to local bodies.

The Opposition Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) asked him to refrain from taking arbitrary decisions. The influential All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) alleged that Sarma was trying to please the RSS. “He has for long been dreaming of becoming chief minister. As he couldn’t fulfil that wish in the Congress, he defected to the BJP but even here, he has been dejected. He is hatching conspiracies against Muslims,” AAMSU president Azizur Rahman said.

“Sarma is the fourth or fifth child in his family. Let him first quit politics and set a precedent. Instead of bringing in a law, he should take measures to educate people on the problem of having many children,” Rahman added.

The Congress called the proposed population policy “funny”. “The BJP has given a proof of its double-standard. On one hand it wants to check the rising population in the state and on the other hand, it is focussed on bringing (non-Muslim) immigrants from Bangladesh by making amendments to the Citizenship Act,” Congress leader and three-time former chief minister Tarun Gogoi said.

AIUDF chief and Lok Sabha member Badruddin Ajmal accused Sarma of hurting religious sentiments and asked him to remember “Friday is an important day for Muslims across the world”.



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