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Varanasi
Saturday, August 20, 2022

How Jharkhand government schools are being Islamized

Government schools in Jharkhand are being systematically Islamized. Muslim politicians and Islamists enforce Sharia-compliant practices, including Fridays as weekly holidays, affixing or suffixing Urdu to the names of schools, and forcing Hindu students to pray with cupped hands like Muslims, among others.

Jharkhand government’s data show Urdu was added to 407 government schools across the state, and 509 shifted the weekly holiday from Sunday to Friday. These Islamist practices have also been forced upon schools in Hindu majority areas. The role of local Muslim politicians cutting across parties, including Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and Islamic clerics close to the ruling alliance in enforcing the Islamist practices has come to the fore.

The ‘Islamisation’ drive came to the fore after the state education department ordered a survey of all schools after a Hindi newspaper revealed changes in the names and weekly-offs. In a written reply to a question posed by BJP MLA Anant Ojha in the Assembly on Tuesday (2 August), the Jharkhand government said that the state government had asked deputy commissioners (district magistrates) of all districts to take corrective measures and fix accountability for the violations.

The state government also added that the authorities had restored the original names of 350 schools (of the 407 schools forced to undergo a name change) by removing the word ‘Urdu’. Also, Sunday has been restored as the weekly off in 459 (of the 509) government schools.

“The government has not provided the correct data. Many more government schools across the state have been ‘Islamised’. Also, by blaming department officials at the district and block levels, the government is trying to shield the Islamist politicians belonging to the ruling coalition and hardline Islamist clerics who forced these changes”, SwarajyaMag quotes Ojha as saying.

The changes happening in Hindu-majority Deoghar District are proof of the aggressive Islamization agenda pushed by the Muslim politicians and clerics. The Hindu population of the district is 94 percent. It also houses one of the holiest Hindu Shrines, Baidyanath Mandir, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and 51 Shaktipeeths. Deoghar, meaning abode of Devas, is also home to many famous mandirs and Hindu pilgrimage sthals.

In many of these schools, even Hindu children were being asked to pray with cupped palms facing upwards (instead of joining palms as Hindus do), an Islamic practice, during their daily prayers in the morning assembly sessions. Islamic preachers reportedly frequent government schools in the district to distribute Islamic literature and even preach Islam. The preachers denigrate Hindu Devis and Devatas and encourage students to follow Islamic practices and rituals.

The push for Islamisation began immediately after the JMM-Congress-RJD combine came to power in 2020. The Jharkhand government is also accused of deliberately turning a blind eye. The Islamist politicians and preachers pressurized block-level education department officials to bring in the Sharia-compliant changes in government schools.

“It seemed they were following a master plan to convert young boys and girls to Islam and spread Islamist and jihadi philosophy and practices. But these Islamists did not target schools that had a considerable number of Christian students. This exposes the malevolent agenda of these Muslim politicians and clerics who were carrying out their activities under the nose of the JMM-Congress-RJD government”, BJP leader Om Narain Mishra told SwarajyaMag.

BJP leaders allege block-level officers complained to their seniors but no action was taken. They say the government took action only after the media exposed the matter. BJP has demanded stringent action against the politicians and clerics in Islamizing government schools. The party said those involved should be identified, booked as per law (including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or UAPA), and arrested.

Strict action against Islamist politicians and clerics would send a strong message. A system of checks should also be implemented to ensure such incidents do not recur.

(Featured Image Source: SwarajyaMag)

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