Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Tuesday triggered a controversy by saying that “madrasas do not breed a nature like that of Nathuram Godse or a personality like Pragya Singh Thakur”, reported IANS.

Godse had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi while Thakur is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case. She is the current Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Bhopal. Thakur had claimed that Godse was a patriot.

Khan made the comments when he was asked about the Centre’s decision to connect madrasas to mainstream education. “First announce that those propagating thoughts of Nathuram Godse will be declared enemies of democracy, those convicted for terror activities won’t be rewarded,” he said.

Khan said if the central government wants to help madrasas it should improve the standard. “Religious teachings are imparted at madrasas,” said the Rampur MP, according to ANI. “At the very same madrasas, English, Hindi and Maths are taught. This has always been done. If you want to help, improve their standard. Build buildings for madrasas, provide them furniture and midday meal facility.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had included modernisation of madrasas in his plan ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. “Hold Quran in one hand and computer in other,” he had said.

On Tuesday, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced the modernisation scheme. “Madarasas are in large numbers across the country,” he had said. “They will be connected with the formal education and mainstream education so that those children studying there can also contribute in the development of the society.”

He said madarasa teachers will be trained in subjects like Hindi, English, mathematics, science and computer. The government will give five crore scholarships for the education of minorities over the next five years. Half the beneficiaries will be girls.

Besides, coaching for central and state administrative services, banking services, staff selection commission, railways and other various competitive services will be provided free of cost to economically weak minorities like Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Parsi, said Naqvi.

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