Modi Govt targets Muslim educational institutes in the name of national security

Those running study centers are worried that now madrassa students have been declared officially as suspects and opposed such branding and ‘social profiling’ of Muslim institutions.

By Mohd Ismail Khan,,

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New Delhi/Hyderabad: National Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language and National Security in the same sentence may appear awkward to many; but for the Union Home Ministry, NCPUL is the new archery bow to take arrows of for the purported ‘war on terror’ for its desire target, the Muslim run educational institutes.

In the month of January, hundreds of NCPUL study centers, mainly madrassas and other Muslim run institutes affiliated to its different diploma programmes, across the country received a rather murky message from Union Home Ministry, disguise as NCPUL notice asking ‘to detect and counter radicalization efforts.’

HRD Minister Smiriti Irani in NCPUL Conference
HRD Minister Smiriti Irani in NCPUL Conference

NCPUL, under HRD Ministry, is the highest regulatory body which is responsible for the regulation of Urdu education in India.

The notice addressed to the Center In-charge of Urdu, Arabic and Persian Study centers – a copy of the notice is available with – has the subject titled, “Implementation of the recommendation of the Task Force on National Security approved/accepted by the cabinet committee on security.”

The notice referred to the recommendation of high profile Naresh Chandra Committee, which was formed by the UPAII in June 2011 to review the defense management of the country.

The NCPUL notice said, “The Task force recommends that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) should develop capabilities for detecting and countering radicalization efforts and to take counter measures through Government and Non-Government structures.”

The notice went on to explain, “Both Radicalization and deradicalization is multi-disciplinary efforts requiring inputs from Intelligence Agencies, The Ministry of Human Resource Development, The Ministry of Minority Affairs, the state police forces and all developmental departments, Ministry of Home Affairs will take the lead, but this require the involvement of entire government.”

The notice sent to all the centers has asked the Center In-charge to submit action taken report on national security issues, by maintaining security at their accredited centers.

Kalimullah, In-charge and Research Officer of Functional Arabic Centers of NCPUL, under whose name the notice was issued (the copy is available with TCN), expressed surprise when contacted him. “It was meant for our study centers not for journalists,” he said.

When inquired about the purpose of issuing this kind of notice to study centers, he explained, “They will have to maintain the records of the students studying there, and should make sure that they don’t get involved in any anti-social activities.”

Asked if it was proper to drag in madrassas in national Security process, he replied, “We acted on the direction received from the Central Government.” He said that the NCPUL received the circular from the Central Government asking them to implement recommendations of the Task Force on national security one month back. Later an inner departmental circular was issued to all NCPUL departments to implement the same, thus the notice was issued to study centers.

Kalimullah also clarified that the notice was not meant only for madrassas, “Our study centers are run by NGOs and different educational societies. These notices were sent to them, not to any specific madrassa.”

A quick look at the registered study centers list at NCPUL website will make it clear that all of them are either madrassas or Muslim run other professional educational institutes.

Kalimullah said he can speak only about his department and conceded that notice was served to all the centers under his department.

Across India there are 278 study centers of functional Arabic of NCPUL, further there are 759 study centers for Diploma in Urdu, 308 Arabic certificate course centers, 27 advance computer training centers, 53 calligraphy and design centers, and 50 centers for diploma in electronic appliance.

Kalimullah also said that all the Center In-charges who have received the notice will have to comply with recommendations and should reply back to NCPUL on the steps taken by them for national security purposes concerning their places of learning.

An officer of NCPUL said that all the departments received the circular and conceded that every other department of NCPUL received the circular and subsequently notices were issued to all the study centers affiliated to respective departments.

He further informed that the NCPUL received the circular from Secretary, (Internal Home Divisions) Ministry of Home Affairs, requesting the exact same extract which was forwarded to other study centers.

The same official also added that the circular was also copied to the HRD Ministry, Minority Affairs Ministry, Chairman UGC and DGPs of all states.

NCPUL notice on National Security to Study Centers
NCPUL notice on National Security to Study Centers

Mr. Kamal Singh, Assistant Director (Administration) who issued inner departmental circular was on leave and was not available for his comments. TCN also tried to reach out to the NCPUL director Dr. Khwaja Ekramuddin but he was also unavailable for the comments.

A Muslim Educational Society in Hyderabad, who runs a primary school along with a madrassa, which also serves as a study center for functional Arabic course, confirmed that they have received the national security notice from NCPUL.

On assurance of anonymity, the In-charge expressed his feelings of fear and astonishment. “We run educational institutions not brainwashing centers. Centers of learning should not be dragged into this dirty mud of war on terror,” he told TCN.

“They are now asking us to submit the action taken report, next Government will ask us to send student information to police stations, this branding and social profiling of Muslim institutes is unacceptable,” he said, worrying that now madrassa students have been declared as official suspects.

He also informed that the he will not comply with the said notice and in protest will rather withdraw from the NCPUL study center list and will urge others too to follow suit.

“We joined the NCPUL, thinking that it is providing great mechanism for distance education, but now it’s turning into a counter terror agency, we find no reason to stay with them,” he added.