The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday ordered madrassas to reduce the number of holidays on Muslim festivals, The Times of India reported. However, it added that the institutions would remain closed during several non-Muslim festivals.
Earlier, madrassas in the state were closed only during Muslim festivals, Ambedkar Jayanti and Holi. However, after Adityanath became the chief minister in March 2017, the state government directed the institutions to remain shut on Mahavir Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Raksha Bandhan, Mahanavami, Diwali, Dussehra and Christmas too.
The new calendar has also cut down 10 discretionary holidays allowed to madrassas during occasions like Muharram to four.
“The 10-day holiday used to be at madrassas’ discretion, but now this is predetermined and distributed round the birthdays of great leaders,” UP Madrassa Board Registrar Rahul Gupta told The Times of India. “It’s important for students to know who these people were.”
But the president of the Islamic Madarsa Modernisation Teachers’ Association, Eijaz Ahmed, was unhappy with the government’s decision. “Madrassas are religious institutions that do require different kinds of leave around a number of minority events,” he said. “There is no problem in addition of holidays of other faiths, but it is totally wrong to cut down the 10 special leaves.”