Wednesday, 29 May, 2024


India’s top court puts order to ban Islamic schools on hold

International Desk  |
Update: 2024-04-06 10:13:31
India’s top court puts order to ban Islamic schools on hold Indian Muslim students recite from the Quran in Jama Masjid Wazeer-un-Nissa during the month of Ramadan at Madrasa Imam Anwaarullah in Hyderabad on June 14, 2016. (AFP file photo)

India’s top court put on hold a lower court’s order that effectively banned Islamic schools in the country’s most populous state, lawyers involved in the case said on Friday, giving a breather to thousands of students and teachers in the system.

The directive comes days before the country begins voting in a national election where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party are seeking a third term.

The top court was responding to a challenge to the March 22 order of the Allahabad High Court which scrapped a 2004 law governing the schools, called madrassas, in Uttar Pradesh state, where one-fifth of the 240 million population is Muslim.

Saying the law violated constitutional secularism, the High Court had also directed that pupils at these institutions be moved to conventional schools.

“We are of the view that the issues raised in the petitions merit closer reflection,” the Supreme Court said on Friday, news portal Live Law reported.

The matter will now be heard in July, and “everything will remain stayed” until then, lawyers said.

India’s federal election process will conclude in June.

Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, head of the board of madrassa education in Uttar Pradesh state, welcomed the court’s order, terming it a “big win.”

“We were really worried regarding the future of about 16 lakh students and now this order has come as a big relief for all of us,” he said.
In the 10 years of Modi’s tenure, members of his BJP and its affiliates have repeatedly been accused of anti-Islamic hate speech and vigilantism.

Meanwhile, India’s main opposition party Congress vowed to protect minorities — generally seen as a reference to the country’s Muslims — while accelerating growth and jobs in a manifesto for an election it is widely expected to lose.

Nearly a billion Indians will vote to elect a new government in six-week-long parliamentary elections starting on April 19, the largest democratic exercise in the world.

Many analysts see Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election under his Hindu nationalist BJP banner as a foregone conclusion.

Congress led India’s independence struggle and dominated politics for most of the next seven decades but its secularist vision has since struggled against the BJP’s appeal to members of India’s majority faith.

In its manifesto, Congress promised to protect “linguistic and religious minorities.”

“The plurality of religions represents the history of India,” it said. “History cannot be altered.”

Party leader Rahul Gandhi — the son, grandson and great-grandson of prime ministers — said the upcoming election was “fundamentally different” from any other in India’s history.

“It is between those who want to end India’s constitution and democracy and those who want to save it,” he said.

The Congress manifesto, titled a “justice document,” offered “concrete guarantees unlike Modi’s empty promises,” said lawmaker and lead author P. Chidambaram.

The party has promised to address India’s “massive unemployment” on a “war footing,” adding that it would earmark half of all government jobs for women.

Young people voted for Modi in droves when he was first elected a decade ago after he said he would create 10 million jobs a year.
But a recent International Labour Organization report warned that India was hamstrung by a “grim” crisis, with unemployment on the rise.

Congress proposed an unconditional annual cash transfer of Rs100,000 ($1,200) “to every poor Indian family.”

Source: Arab News 

BDST: 1013 HRS, APR 06, 2024

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