BJP has left thousands of madrasas teachers on the brink of losing their jobs

Indian educators fear unemployment as funding for Muslim schools terminated

India’s most populous state has terminated the remunerations of around 21,000 teachers of subjects including mathematics and science in Muslim religious schools, or madrasas.

The decision was made ahead of national elections due in May by the north-Indian State of Uttar Pradesh (UP) government, ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), has left thousands of teachers on the brink of losing their jobs.

Following the order, Madrasa Education Council Chairman, Iftikhar Ahmed Javed wrote a letter to Modi requesting him to reinstate the scheme so that the slogan “Quran in one hand and computer in the other” can be made successful.

“Over 21,000 teachers are set to lose their jobs,” Javed, told Reuters. “Muslim students and teachers will go back by 30 years.”

“We do not have any other job and I am too old to get another one,” said Samiullah Khan, a Madrasa teacher from Bahraich district in UP for the past 14 years.

In March 2022, the federal government ceased its funding for the program known as the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas, as stated in a document obtained by Reuters.

The document from the Ministry of Minority Affairs reveals that Modi’s administration declined all new proposals from states during the period spanning from the fiscal years 2017/18 to 2020/21, ultimately leading to the complete closure of the program.

Rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, assert that nationalist factions have acted with impunity to intimidate and persecute Muslims and other religious minority groups under the leadership of Modi’s BJP, the allegations are refuted by the party.

In 1993, to ensure that the students were also taught other subjects besides Islam, the central government launched the Madrasa Modernization Scheme, around 21,000 teachers were appointed to teach subjects like Hindi, English, science, mathematics and Social Science.

The state used to pay up to 3,000 rupees ($36) a month from its budget to the teachers, on top of up to 12,000 rupees from the federal government.

Over the years, the government-run program has benefitted minority Muslims, especially the one’s poverty-stricken students.

Ever since it came to power in 2014, the BJP has been synonymous with its anti-Muslim stance as there have been recurring incidences, including mob lynching and hurting the sentiments of minority groups, especially of the Muslims of India.

Modi has been setting his sights on winning a third straight term by pleasing the Hindu majority in India.