An Indian state ruled by the Hindu nationalist party of Narendra Modi has passed a law to convert Islamic schools run by government law into regular schools, saying they have provided quality education.
Opposition politicians criticized the move, saying it reflected the government’s anti-Muslim sentiment in the Hindu-majority country.
State Education Minister Himmat Biswa Sarma told the local assembly that more than 700 schools in Assam, known as madrassas, would be closed in April.
“We need more doctors, police officers, bureaucrats and teachers from the minority Muslim community instead of imams in mosques,” said a rising star in the prime minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He said the government would turn them into regular schools because the education provided in madrassas could not prepare anyone for “the world and its worldly worries”.
Opposition politicians called the move an attack on Muslims. “The idea is to eliminate Muslims,” said Wajid Ali Chaudhry, a lawmaker from the opposition Congress party.
On Tuesday, more than 100 retired senior government employees and diplomats in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, called on the BJP government to repeal a new law criminalizing forced religious conversions of brides, which Muslims Is seen against.
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