The Uttar Pradesh government on September 15 asked madrassas in Varanasi to send women representatives to an event on September 22 where Prime Minister Narendra Modi would interact with them, reported PTI on Monday. Varanasi is the prime minister’s parliamentary constituency.
“On September 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold a ‘Samwaad’ programme with women from the minority community at the DLW auditorium,” Varanasi district Minority Welfare Officer Vijay Pratap Yadav said in a letter. “On that day, the responsibility of ferrying women audience to the programme venue is assigned to you.”
However, a body of madrassa teachers strongly opposed the directive. “The order of the state government has been opposed because we are running academic institutions and are not workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Muslim Rashtriya Manch,” Diwan Saheb Zaman Khan, general secretary of the Teachers’ Association Madaris-e-Arabia, said according to The Indian Express. “It should not be our responsibility to ensure that people gather for the prime minister’s event.”
The minority welfare officer also asked madrassas to send representatives to discuss logistics for the Varanasi event at a meeting on Monday, September 18. However, he cancelled the meeting on September 17.