Religious Bodies Accuse Education Deptt Of Fraud15 December 2011
Srinagar: Taking on the state’s Education Department over controversy surrounding funding of Madrassas in Jammu and Kashmir, an amalgam of various religious organizations Thursday accused the department of “embezzling” funds released in their name and tarnishing the image of the institutions. The conglomerate, Muttahida Ulema Ahli Sunnat, comprising of more than 30 organizations running dozens of Madrassas in the state, rejected having received or applied for the financial assistance with the state or the central government. “Around 60 of our institutions shown as beneficiaries by Education Department had neither sought funding from the government nor have they received assistance in the past. There are around eight institutions in the list which do not exist at all. The image of the religious institutions and Madrassas is being tarnished and money is being embezzled in their name. We ask the government to make public the accounts of funding received by it in name of the Madrassas across JK. The state Education department and officials from Ministry of Human Resources Development are involved in the scam,” chief spokesman of the forum, GR Hami told a press conference here. He was flanked by president of the amalgam, Riyaz-ul-Haq Noorabadi and heads of various independent religious organizations of the umbrella group. “Who has received the Rs 7 crore and Rs 20 crore allocated by the HRD Ministry and who are being provided Rs 3 crore as claimed by the government? We want to know each and every detail from the government. Now government is saying they intend to allocate funds to the Madrassas and it claims that due to some mistake the list that had gone to HRD Ministry had shown higher number of institutions. On the name of Madrassas the Education department is receiving funding from Government of India. We want the scam to be investigated. I have the list of last 25 years about those who received the funding,” said Hami who is also the chairman of the Karwan-i-Islami, a constituent of the conglomerate. Responding to a question, Hami said the conglomerate comprises of more than 30 individual religious organizations which are running Madrassas. “We have never got a single penny from the government nor have we taken any initiative for such funding,” he said. Asked how the Madrassas run by them appear in the list issued by HRD, Hami said Education department has done it on its own. “It is now clear that funds are being withdrawn on our name.” To a question would the religious organizations of the conglomerate accept the funding if government approaches them, Hami said, “It is not in our constitution.” The conglomerate condemned the recent statement by the National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah that liquor shops should be re-opened in Kashmir. “We will not allow it. We will keep fighting till a single liquor shops is not closed in the valley. Government has to take care of the sentiments of majority community in the state,” Hami said. “Whether opening of the liquor shops is the policy of National Conference, PDP or any other political organization, it is anti-Islamic. We will not allow it.” He said that if the state government failed to publish the list of those religious schools who it claims are receiving funds within a week then they will seek information through Right to Information (RTI). He said the conglomerate is also planning a legal action against the Education department. “Nobody has right to defame us,” Hami said. In response to an RTI application, HRD Ministry had revealed that it had disbursed over Rs 5 crore to the Education department as financial assistance for 372 Madrassas last year and allocated another over Rs 7 crore this year. However Education department on Tuesday ordered release of only Rs 3.47 crore for only 362 Madrassas. On the difference in number of the institutions, Commissioner-Secretary Education, Naseema Lanker, told Greater Kashmir yesterday that due to some “mistake” the list forwarded to HRD authorities showed higher number of Madrassas. However she did not reply to question that the Ministry had released funds for 372 and not 362 institutions and why had not government cleared the matter to Union Ministry.