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Muslim Scholars’ Body Comes Out Against Recommendations for Changes in School Timing in Kerala

As media reports surfaced that a government-appointed panel proposed changes in the existing school timings in Kerala, a prominent outfit of Muslim scholars in the state on Friday came out against the recommendations saying this would adversely impact the madrassa studies of the community children. Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, generally known as Samastha which is an association of Sunni scholars, expressed doubt whether the move was intended to discourage religious studies and said it was not acceptable at any cost.

A senior Samastha leader said though Communism is rooted on the atheistic ideology, the Left government in the state could not bring it as their policy and they can move ahead after accepting and taking everyone together. “The change in the existing school timings will definitely affect the madrassa studies. Only a limited time, from 7 am to 8.30 am, is available for religious studies even now,” the Samastha leader Abdussamad Pookkottur said.

“If the new time schedule is implemented, children won’t get any time to devote to madrassas. That’s why the religious outfits are strongly opposing this move,” Pookkottur said. The sharp reaction came a day after the M A Khader committee on school education submitted its report to the state government reportedly with recommendations to change the school timings from 8 am to 1 pm.

Expressing doubt whether the changes were proposed by the people who wanted to “destroy the religious beliefs with an intention to promote the negation of religion”, the Samastha leader said the scholars had already conveyed their concerns to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in this regard. The top leaders of Samastha would formally request the government to reject the recommendations soon, he said.

“When the suggestion for change in school timing comes in front of the government as a recommendation by a panel, naturally there are chances for it to get accepted. That’s why we are asking the government in advance to reject it,” Pookkottur, also a top office-bearer of the Sunni Yuvajan Sangham (SYS), said. The second part of the Khader committee report, which focuses on academic matters, was handed over to the government on Thursday.

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