There are 614 government-aided recognised madrassas and about 900 private madrassas in Assam Credit: Representational Image

The Assam government will close down all state-run madrassas and Sanskrit tols (schools) as it can’t afford to teach religious scriptures with public funds, state education and finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

“As per our government’s policy we had announced earlier in the state Assembly that there should be no religious education with government’s funding. However, we have nothing to say about privately-run madrassas and Sanskrit tols (schools), ” he told the media.

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

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

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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 madrassas, 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 madrassas and about 900 private madrassas in Assam. On the other hand there’re nearly 1,000 recognised Sanskrit tols, of which around 100 are government-aided.

The Assam government spends about Rs 3-4 crore on madrassas and about Rs 1 crore on Sanskrit tols annually.

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