Revealed: How Muslim Politicians And Clerics Tried To Islamise Government Schools And Propagate Islam In Jharkhand

by Jaideep Mazumdar - Aug 3, 2022 03:03 PM +05:30 IST
Revealed: How Muslim Politicians And Clerics Tried To Islamise Government Schools And Propagate Islam In Jharkhand‘Urdu’ was added to names of 407 govt schools across Jharkhand, while 509 govt schools were forced to change their weekly offs to Friday.
Snapshot
  • According to the Jharkhand government’s own admission, ‘Urdu’ was added to names of 407 government schools across the state, while 509 government schools were forced to change their weekly offs from Sunday to Friday.

Muslim politicians and Islamist clerics of Jharkhand forced government schools in many parts of the state to adopt Islamist practices as per the ‘Sharia’.

These practices include observing Fridays as the weekly offs, affixing or suffixing the names of the schools with ‘Urdu’ and forcing students, including Hindu students, to pray with cupped palms facing upwards like Muslims do!

According to the Jharkhand government’s own admission, ‘Urdu’ was added to names of 407 government schools across the state, while 509 government schools were forced to change their weekly offs from Sunday to Friday.

Even schools in Hindu majority areas were forced to follow these Islamist practices. It is learnt that local-level Muslim politicians, including those belonging to the Congress and some of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) as well as the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and Islamist clerics close to politicians of the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD coalition, forced authorities of all these schools to adopt these practices.

This huge ‘Islamisation’ drive was exposed last month after a Hindi newspaper revealed the change of names of schools and the weekly-offs in Muslim-dominated areas of Jamtara distrcit of the state. That triggered a huge outcry and the state school education department ordered a survey of all schools in the state.

The survey’s findings were shocking. The Jharkhand government, in a written reply to a question posed by BJP MLA Anant Ojha in the Assembly on Tuesday (2 August), said that the state government has asked deputy commissioners (district magistrates) of all districts to take corrective measures and fix accountability for the violations.

In its reply to Ojha, the state government said that the original names of 350 schools (of the 407 schools forced to undergo name change) have been restored with the removal of the word ‘Urdu’. Also, Sunday has been restored as the weekly off in 459 (of the 509) government schools.

State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam assured agitated BJP members that the names and weekly-offs of the rest of the schools that were altered will be restored very soon.

Alam was replying on behalf of Education Minister Jagarnath Mahato who is ill. Alam said that the deputy commissioners have also been asked to fix responsibility and penalise officials who were responsible for these alterations without informing the school education department.

But the BJP is not satisfied with the government’s response. “The government has not provided the correct data. Many more government schools across the state have been ‘Islamised’. Also, by blaming officials of the department at the district and block levels, the government is trying to shield the Islamist politicians belonging to the ruling coalition and hardline Islamist clercis who forced these changes,” Ojha told Swarajya.

The unabashed and determined manner in which the Muslim politicians and clerics pushed their agenda to Islamise all government schools in the state is evident from the fact that the largest number of these changes of names and weekly-offs happened in Deoghar district.

This happened despite the fact that Hindus form an overwhelming majority (more than 94 per cent) of the population of the district. This happened in a district that is home to one of the holiest shrines of Hindus: the Baidyanath Mandir that is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Baidyanath Mandir is also one of the 51 Shakti Peeths.

Apart from the Baidyanath Mandir, Deoghar is dotted with many famous mandirs and Hindu pilgrimage sthals, including the Trikut Pahar where the famous Trikutachal Maadev Mandir and ashram of Rishi Dayanand are located. The name of the district--Deoghar--means abode of the Gods.

“It is shocking that many government schools even in Deoghar were forced to change their names and add the word ‘Urdu’ to them. They were forced to have Fridays as their weekly off and in many schools, rabid Islamist clerics were found to be distributing Islamic literature to school students,” senior BJP leader Om Narain Mishra told Swarajya.

In many of these schools, it was found that even Hindu children were being asked to pray with cupped palms facing upwards (instead of joining palms like Hindus do) as is the practice in Islam during their daily prayers in the morning assembly sessions.

What’s more, Islamist preachers are learnt to have been frequenting these government schools, distributing Islamic literature and even preaching Islam. These clerics, say BJP leaders, had started denigrating Hindu deities and practices and were learnt to be encouraging students to start following Islamic practices and rituals!

Enquiries by Swarajya revealed that the practice of forcing government schools to change their names and weekly offs, allowing Islamist clerics and preachers to spread Islam among students and forcing students to follow Islamic practices like praying with cupped palms facing upwards started in 2020, soon after the end-2019 Assembly elections that brought the JMM-Congress-RJD to power.

“Politicians belonging to the three ruling parties and Islamist clerics they patronised started implementing their sinister agenda soon after the JMM-led government came to power. And they have only got bolder. The government knew about this all along and turned a blind eye only because the targets of these Islamists are Hindus,” said Mishra.

The Muslim politicians and clerics started forcing education department officials at the block levels to ask schools to include ‘Urdu’ in their names and change their weekly offs to Fridays from early 2020.

“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 which 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,” Mishra said.

BJP legislator Ojha says that there is no way the Education Minister and senior officials of the school education department would not have known about this pernicious Islamisation agenda in government schools.

“Officials from the block level upwards who were forced to change names and weekly offs (or agree to these changes) complained to their seniors. Even district administrative officials would have gotten wind of it. But no one did anything and it was only after the media expose that the government took action,” he said.

The BJP is now demanding that the Muslim politicians and clerics who forced the Islamisation agenda on schools be identified, booked under stringent provisions of the law (including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or UAPA) and arrested.

But what is more important is to put in place a system of checks to pre-empt recurrence of such incidents. Arresting the Islamists who committed these pernicious acts and booking them under the UAPA, as the BJP is demanding, would act as a strong deterrent.

This sinister development comes close in the heels of the discovery of similar practices by government schools in Bihar.

Also Read: Many Bihar Schools Have Been Forced By Muslim Leaders To Illegally Declare Friday As Weekly Off

Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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