Saturday, July 30, 2022

Friday holiday of Urdu schools in controversy; Differences between the ruling BJP-Syukta Janata Dal in Bihar again exposed

PTI, Patna: The differences within the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar have once again come to light. A group of BJP leaders once again objected to Urdu schools in Bihar’s Muslim-majority districts being closed on Fridays and open on Sundays. Education department officials are keeping silent on the matter. But sources in the education department said that the controversy started due to a recent notice sent by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to the governments of Bihar and Jharkhand.

Sources said that NCPCR sought to know if there was any government order for such arrangement of holidays for schools. Then the issue came up again. Urdu schools, especially those in Muslim-majority districts, have had a Friday holiday for many years. Newly objecting to this, many local leaders of BJP raised questions in front of the media regarding the ‘mixture of religion in education’ in connection with the Friday holiday. The day ‘Friday’ is considered very holy by Muslims and on that day they offer ‘Jumma ki Namaz’. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Sanyukta Janata Dal was upset due to BJP’s objection. Since coming to power in alliance with BJP 15 years ago, he has had education portfolio.

Union Janata Dal Parliamentary Board President Upendra Kushwaha said that leaders should not create controversy on every trivial matter. Objectors should note that Sanskrit educational institutions have monthly holidays on Pratipada and Ashtami according to the Hindu calendar. Danish Rizwan, chief spokesperson of Hindusthani Awam Morcha, an ally of the United Janata Dal, said, “Have the parents complained?” Why are institutions closed only on Fridays in Jammu and Kashmir?

But BJP leaders are not ready to back down. BJP MP Rakesh Singh termed his support for Friday holiday for schools as illogical, tweeting that in Turkey, which has a 99 percent Muslim population, Sunday is a holiday, but schools in Kishanganj have a Friday holiday. Kishanganj is the only district in Bihar where Muslims are in majority. Additionally, there are a large number of Urdu schools in nearby Araria, Katihar and Purnia, according to the Education Department.

No direct dispute with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar!

Interestingly, BJP ministers in the state are avoiding direct arguments with the Chief Minister. Despite three decades of political alliance, Nitish Kumar has kept an ideological distance from the BJP. When senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad was asked about this, he said that every organization that runs the government at the Center or in the state issues guidelines regarding holidays. No organization can go against it. The education department is looking into it. If something is against the rules, it will be corrected.

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