Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said the state will introduce a law to convert all government-run madrassas and ashrams where Sanskrit language is taught, into high schools and higher secondary schools, India Today reported.

“Since the state is a secular institution, it can’t fund religious teaching,” the minister said at a programme in Guwahati. He added that the process would be completed in the next two months.

Under the new law, the madrassas will be required to function under a regulatory framework and disclose the number of students enrolled in them. “They will have to compulsorily teach general subjects along with religious ones,” Sarma said. However, he clarified that the decision will not affect privately run madrassas.

At present, Assam has nearly 1,200 madrassas and 200 Sanskrit ashrams, or tols. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the decision was taken as there is no independent board to regulate them. “These [government-run madrassas and Sanskrit ashrams] issue certificates which are equivalent to matriculation [Class 10] and higher secondary [Class 12],” Sarma added. “Since there is no regulatory board to govern them, a lot of wrongdoings take place in issuing these certificates.”