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State-run madrasas and Sanskrit tols (schools) in Assam are set to close down as the government said that it cannot afford to teach “religious scriptures with public funds”.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

Assam education and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on October 9 said: “We had announced earlier in the state assembly on the government policy… There should be no religious education with government’s funding.”

“We have nothing to say about privately-run madrasas and Sanskrit tols,” he added.

Sarma said that the state government would issue a formal notification in this regard in November.

After the closing down of the madrasas, 48 contractual teachers are likely to be shifted to schools under the Education department.

Following the government’s announcement, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief and perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal said that if the BJP-led government shut down government-run madrasas, his party would re-open them after coming to power in the next year’s Assembly elections.

“Madrasas cannot be closed. We would reopen these 50-60-year-old madrassas if this BJP government closes them forcibly,” said Ajmal, also a Lok Sabha member.

There are 614 government-aided recognised madrasas in Assam – 57 for girls, three for boys, and 554 co-educational, with 17 of them Urdu medium. There are nearly 1,000 recognised Sanskrit tols, of which around 100 are government-aided.

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The state government spends around Rs 3-4 crore on madrasas and about Rs 1 crore on Sanskrit tols in the state annually.

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