SIT to probe misuse of donations by madrasas - Hindustan Times
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SIT to probe misuse of donations by madrasas

Oct 23, 2023 07:14 AM IST

The decision was taken after information about anti-national activities and forced conversion being promoted with foreign donations. The SIT will give notice to all the madrasas and seek information about the transactions in Foreign Exchange Earning Accounts (EEFC). After this, those madrasas which are receiving funds from abroad will be listed and then it will be probed as to from which countries this money has been sent and in which activities it has been used.

Lucknow About 4,000 madrasas, mostly on the Indo-Nepal border, which have received foreign funding are under the state government’s scanner. The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to investigate the misuse of foreign donations received by madrasas of the state and for this, a three-member special investigation team (SIT) has been formed under the chairmanship of ADG ATS Mohit Agarwal, with SP Cyber Crime Dr. Triveni Singh and director, minority welfare J. Reebha as members.

In January this year, the government had ordered district magistrates in districts bordering Nepal to conduct a probe into the funding of unrecognised madrasas that declared ‘zakat’ (money from charity) and donations as their primary source of funds. (Pic for representation)
In January this year, the government had ordered district magistrates in districts bordering Nepal to conduct a probe into the funding of unrecognised madrasas that declared ‘zakat’ (money from charity) and donations as their primary source of funds. (Pic for representation)

Minister for minorities’ welfare, Dharmpal Singh, said, “Madrasas which are linked to any kind of anti-national activity will be probed. Around 4000 madrasas, most of them concentrated around the Indo-Nepal border, have been receiving foreign funds regularly. After the madrasa survey last year, authorities found that most madrasas in the border areas of late had been receiving big funds, but were unable to give an accurate account of the money.”

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He added, “Our department doesn’t have the experts to get exact information about the source of funds and where they were diverted or used and for which purpose. So the state government has constituted a SIT to probe the source of funds and where they were spent by various madrasas. Most of the madrasa managements were not giving a satisfactory reply when asked about foreign funding. So, the state decided to probe the source of funding to these madrasas through the SIT.”

“During the probe, we will check the accounts of madrasas which are receiving funds from abroad. We will see how the money received through foreign funding is used—is it used to run the madrasas or for any other activities,” said ADG Mohit Agarwal, who is head of UP Anti-Terror Squad (ATS).

The state government officials said that the decision was taken after information about anti-national activities and forced conversion being promoted with foreign donations. The SIT will give notice to all the madrasas and seek information about the transactions in Foreign Exchange Earning Accounts (EEFC). After this, those madrasas which are receiving funds from abroad will be listed and then it will be probed as to from which countries this money has been sent and in which activities it has been used.

Requesting anonymity, a government official privy to the development said the government had not given any specific time from which the money transactions would be checked. He said the SIT was likely to focus more on madrasas in districts located along the Indo-Nepal border, including Siddharth Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur and Maharajganj, among others.

He said the SIT would investigate whether or not foreign funds were used for any illegal activity, including terror and forced religious conversion.

To note, in January this year, the government had ordered district magistrates in districts bordering Nepal to conduct a probe into the funding of unrecognised madrasas that declared ‘zakat’ (money from charity) and donations as their primary source of funds.

Chairman, Uttar Pradesh State Madrasa Education Board Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Javed said, “I have come to know about formation of SIT through the newspapers but if any madrasa has received foreign fund and if it has not given any details about the expenditure of that fund, then the matter should be probed. There is no harm in that and I hope that all the madrasas will cooperate in this. At the same time, the report of the SIT on the madrasa probe should also be placed in public domain so that people can see the real picture of madrasa foreign funding in the state.”

He said, “SIT probe into madrasa funds does not mean that all the madrasas are anti- national. Rather, it’s an effort to clean the system and promote those madrasas which inculcate national feeling and patriotism among the students. At the same time, the state government also wants to modernise the madrasa education because we want students to compete with the best. If everything goes well and according to the plan, then in the days to come there is no doubt that madrasas will impart standard education, just like missionary schools. ”

There are 16,513 recognised madrasas in the state and 560 of them are receiving grants from the state government. Around 8000 unrecognised madrasas were also found operating in the state after the madrasa survey.

However, spokesperson of Samajwadi Party Dr Ashutosh Varma said, “It’s just another way of harassing minority education institutes. First the state conducted a survey of all the madrasas, after that around 8000 were found operating without recognition. But after 11 months of the survey have these madrasas been recognised by the state government? At that time, the government said that the unrecognised madrasas would be motivated to get recognition and the state government along with the UP state Madrasa Education Board will assist them in this work. But instead of giving them recognition, they have constituted SIT for probing their foreign funding. They just want to divert attention and do nothing for the minorities in the state.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anupam Srivastava is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Lucknow. Has produced exclusive stories in medical, civil aviation, civic, political and other issues for over 20 years.

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