Assam’s Education Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday objected to the Madrasa institutions being closed on Fridays. He affirmed that the headmasters of the schools could also be suspended if it continued.

“It has come to the notice of the government that some of the madrasas in certain districts are closed on Friday. It’s against the law. If this does not stop the government will not refrain from suspending the headmasters of such institutions,” Himanta said.

Adding that Madrasas remain closed on Fridays in “Pakistan and Bangladesh,” not in India, the minister said that Indians follow a common weekly off on a Sunday and that should be followed by people believing in all faith.

Madrasa institutions, which are basically schools for Muslims often part of a mosque have reportedly been kept shut on Fridays for ‘Jumma namaz’ or the Friday prayers.

Himanta further asserted that Madrasas will now be given only a half hour break for the Friday prayers instead of the entire day. However, some of the Muslim organisations lashed out at the state government for the move saying that it is meant to create hostility between people.

“Our country is known to be a secular, democratic country. We have been observing a holiday on a Friday for years now, especially in madrassas. Other religions have also been taking holidays on days of their religious significance. However, it is extremely unfortunate that Himanta Biswa Sarma, is comparing India with Bangladesh and Pakistan just for the issue of holidays on a Friday,” Former Congress minister Siddique Ahmed told a leading news daily.