In spite of the increasing threat from Islamic fundamentalists in the state, the West Bengal government has in its crosshairs schools run by trusts believed to be close to RSS.
The Times of India published a report stating that Mamata Banerjee has put on notice 125 schools for “fanning religious intolerance” and “deviating from the state-mandated syllabus”.
Both accusations are very serious in nature and might end with the closure of the schools.
Three trusts, Sarada Shishu Tirtha, Saraswati Shishu Mandir and Vivekanada Vidya Vikas Parishad, run the schools. In total they run 350 schools in the state having a combined student strength of 60,000.
The closure of the 125 schools would mean that the education of thousands of students will be directly affected.
It has been reported that state education minister Partha Chatterjee has been handed a list by chief minister Mamata Banerjee containing the names.
“We have asked these 125 schools to explain why they have deviated from the state curriculum. We have decided to withdraw their affiliation and will shut them down if there is no satisfactory explanation,” he said.
The report also says that the issue of these specific schools was raised by CPM MLA Manas Mukherjee and “as if on cue” minister Chatterjee brought out the list of 125 indicating an anti-BJP axis in the state.
In its rabid hatred for the BJP, Trinamool Congress has been opposing all the policies of the Central Government, including demonetization and Aadhar-linking schemes.
Such has been Mamata’s febrile opposition to the Modi government that under her rule, the shahi imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan Mosque Maulana Nurur Rehman Barkati issues fatwa against the Prime Minister and death threats against liberal writers such as Tarek Fatah.
Mamata is being criticized on social media for the move against the schools:
— কাঞ্চন গুপ্ত (@KanchanGupta) March 9, 2017
Partha Chatterjee,Minister of Education West Bengal says abt Saraswati Shishu Mandirs: “Won’t let schools be run on religious basis”…
— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) March 9, 2017
West Bengal has over 2000 unregistered madrasas. Radical teachings are imparted in many of them. The madrasas are reportedly funded by sources in Wahhabi countries of the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia.
Students in the madrasas are taught a very fundamentalist version of Islam which goes directly against the secular ethos of the Constitution.
But Mamata turns a blind eye to all of that and instead takes no action against fundamentalist who terrorise schools in the state.
Mamata Banerjee has also been criticized for paying (and increasing) stipends for the Islamic clerics from the taxpayers’ money but failing to honor the martyrdom of soldiers from the state.