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AIMPBL campaign for amendments in RTE Act, Waqf Bill begins Tuesday

Sunday December 18, 2011 10:55:27 PM, Staff Reporter

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Malegaon: A countrywide campaign by the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPBL) to mobilise support for amendments in the existing Right to Education (RTE) Act and seeking a stronger Wakf Act is to begin from Malegaon Tuesday.

The decision to organise the nationwide mass campaign against the negatives in the Right to Education (RTE) Act and seeking amendments in the Wakf (amendment) Bill 2010 passed in the Lok Sabha during the May 2010 parliamentary session was taken by the Muslim Law panel during its Executive Council meeting held in New Delhi on November 26, 2011.

As per the declared plan, the AIMPLB will be organising public rallies and meetings in the next couple of weeks in the entire country, with the first being organised in Malegaon Tuesday.

Explaining the reasons behind the campaign, Hafiz Umrain Rehmani, the local convener of the AIMPLB Action Committee formed for the purpose, said that many clauses in the act including promotion of the students to higher standards even if they were irregular and absent from the classes and elimination of the examination system would have dire consequences on the quality of education.

"We are not against the Right to Education Act. What we say is that there are a lot of ambiguities in the law which if not corrected would have long term consequences on the education quality as a whole", he said while speaking to

Terming as a landmark decision to ensure elementary education to every citizen of the country, the parliament passed the Right to Education Act in the year 2009, which was then enforced from April 01, 2010 after the President’s approval. However, ever since the introduction of the act in the parliament, objections are raised and amendments in its controversial clauses are sought. But, the government does not pay any heed to these demands.

"Since the day one, we are putting these facts in front of the government. The government in fact promised that it would bring an amendment to exempt Madrasa education system and schools run by other religious groups from the RTE Act. But, when the amendments were put in the parliaments, our concerns were overlooked", Maulana Syed Mohammad Wali Rehmani, Secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and National Convener of the AIMPBL Action Committee said.

Section 17 (5) of the RTE Act says that any person who establishes or runs a school without obtaining certificate of recognition would be liable to punishment. The Muslim panel believes that this clause in the RTE Act will have a direct impact on the Madrasa Education System.

"The Madrasas are normally not recognised by the government and the immediate fallout of the RTE Act is closure of these Madrasas which are the only option for the poor in many parts of the country", Maulana Rehmani said.

Spread all across the country, India has hundreds of thousands of Madrasas where millions of students, including non-Muslims, are getting education free of cost or on minimal fees. Though they are not formally recognised by the government, they are established under Article 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution which give the minorities right to establish institutes of their choice.

The other issue, which the Muslim panel has included in its nationwide campaign, is the demand for a stronger Wakf Act. The act for the safety of the Wakf properties was introduced first time in 1954. Due to the discrepancies in the law, it was amended first in 1969 then in 1984 and finally in 1995. The UPA government decided to amend the act once again and consequently passed the Wakf (amendment) Bill 2010 in the Lok Sabha on May 07, 2010. But AIMPLB says the amendment bill is not capable of serving the actual purpose.

"The proposed Wakf (amendment) Bill would not be able to provide the needed security to the Wakf Properties. Instead, it would further results in misuse, encroachment and damage to the wakf properties", Maulana Rehmani said.

Besides these two acts, the AIMPLB also demands changes in the proposed Direct Taxes Code saying if it becomes a law, all religious places and non-profits would become liable to paying taxes.


Meanwhile, days after the AIMPLB decision to protest taken November 26, the union cabinet proposed exempting Madrasa Education from the RTE Act. The Muslim panel however says the cabinet decision is not sufficient and suitable amendments in the act should be made in the parliament.







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