DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand Madrassa Education Board (UMEB) rubbished the allegations that claimed that madrassas across the state have refused to display a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their respective offices saying they have no problem in complying with the government directive.
"According to Islam, the prayer room must not have a photograph of any living being. Any place other than the prayer room can have a photograph of the prime minister. Why would any madrasa have a problem with that?" Akhlaq Ahmad Ansari, deputy registrar of the Board said on Saturday.
The issue erupted when media reports on Friday stated of several Uttarakhand madrasas have refused to display a photograph of PM Modi in their educational institutions.
An official of the UMEB said, "Since Islam outrightly disapproves putting up any picture inside a madrassa, there is no question of putting up a photo of the Prime Minister inside its premises."
Another madrassa teacher claimed that the direction may give rise to political colours at educational institutions.
On the other hand, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat yesterday condemned the madrassas in the state for their refusal to put up a portrait of the Prime Minister, asking them to give up their 'conservatism' on the issue.
"Installing the prime minister's portrait in all government institutions and those being run on government grants has been an established practice. The madrassas should give up their conservatism on the issue," CM Rawat said.
"Madrassas are also educational institutions. They should not have any objection to installing a portrait of the prime minister. They should view the issue from the Indian point of view," Rawat added.
Last year, shortly after the Independence Day, the state government sent a circular to all 'government offices' asking them to display a photograph of Modi.
"All departments are expected to ask the sections, establishments, educational institutions under them to put a photograph of the prime minister," the circular stated.
The government directive was also accompanied by an instruction to educational institutions to submit reports on the progress made. Uttarakhand's Minority Welfare Directorate also asked its officials to ensure compliance.
Accordingly, madrassas were informed by district minority welfare officers to "put up a picture of PM Modi in your respective madrassas."
When questioned about the non-availability of photographs of Prime Minister Modi inside madrassas, District minority welfare officer of Dehradun said, "the order has been issued to all the government-run educational institutions."
He added that they, however, cannot force anyone to comply with the order if it is against their religion.