Centre Is Attacked For Targeting Madrasas
9 March 2003
The Asian Age
New Delhi: Former Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said on Sunday that the people of Jammu and Kashmir would not tolerate any interference in Muslim religious institutions by the government. Speaking at a rally organised by the Jamiat-Ul Hind in New Delhi, the Mirwaiz attacked the government for projecting the entire Muslim community in the trouble-torn state as militants. The Mirwaiz, whose passport was impounded by the Centre for alleged anti-national activities, said that the government's anti-madrasa policy was not acceptable. 'But if our religious institutes are banned, they are subjected to intense scrutiny and closed down in the garb of so- called national interest, then let me make it clear, such a policy is not acceptable to people in Jammu and Kashmir,' he said. The Mirwaiz said that the BJP-led central government was systematically closing down madrasas all over the country. 'These schools provide a place for Muslim boys and girls to read and become literate. It seems that the government in New Delhi does not want Muslims to become literate,' he said. Making his first public appearance in New Delhi after his passport was revoked by the government, the Mirwaiz chose not to touch upon the Kashmir issue. 'I will not rake up the issue of Kashmir here as otherwise the Centre will accuse us of misleading Muslims in the rest of the country,' he said. The rally was organised by Jamat-Ul-Hind against the attack on religious institutions. The Mirwaiz said 'when it comes to the issue of attacking our religious institutions, Muslims from Jammu, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country will rise and prevent it.' He severely criticised the Centre for banning the Anjuman-Ul-Nusrat-e-Islamia, which was being run by his family. He said that the government's move was 'biased' and 'anti-people.' The organisation was banned by the government on February 19.