India: Government cuts Muslim holidays at religious schools in Uttar Pradesh

Measures will attempt to bring greater uniformity to celebrations across all faiths

Lydia Smith
Thursday 04 January 2018 16:51
Religious institutions in Uttar Pradesh will close for celebrations such as Diwali
Religious institutions in Uttar Pradesh will close for celebrations such as Diwali

The government in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has cut the number of discretionary holidays around Muslim festivals in religious schools, while making it compulsory for them to remain closed on some festivals of other faiths.

Previously, Muslim institutions in the state were only required to close during the major national, non-Muslim festivals of Ambedkar Jayanti and Holi.

The new annual calendar proposes that madrassas now shut for celebrations such as Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, the Times of India reported.

The institutions will also be shut on Mahavir Jayanti - a festival in Jainism - as well as during the Hindu festival of Dussehra and at Christmas.

The calendar proposes the number of recognised dates in the Islamic calendar cut from 10 to four.

Registrar of the UP Madrassa Board Rahul Gupta, told the Times of India: “The 10-day holiday used to be at madrassas' discretion, but now this is predetermined and distributed round the birthdays of great leaders.

“It's important for students to know who these people were.“

Eijaz Ahmed, president of the Islamic Madarsa Modernisation Teachers' Association, said: “Madrassas are religious institutions that do require different kinds of leave around a number of minority events for which the former discretionary leave was used.

“There is no problem in addition of holidays of other faiths, but it is totally wrong to cut down the ten discretionary special leaves.”

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