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UP Chief of Muslim Personal Law Board Arrested for Remarks on Madarsa Crackdown

Hafiz Noor Ahmad Raza Azhari
Photo: Clarion

Hafiz Noor Ahmad Raza Azhari, chief of the All-India Muslim personal law Board in Uttar Pradesh has been arrested on Sunday, over his remarks on the Yogi Adityanath government’s continuous madrasa crackdown.

Last week, Yogi Adityanath led government formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that deemed about 13,000 thousand of madrassas across the state illegal.  Azhari’s arrest comes amidst the controversy of SIT report against these madrassas.

Prior to his arrest, Azhari criticized the Yogi government on social media accusing it of a targeted campaign against madrassas.  He also stated that the government’s goal is to deter individuals from going to madrassas, which would hinder Muslim’s ability to receive religious education.

Last year, Uttar Pradesh (UP) police had filed an FIR against Azhari for blaming UP Chief Minister over the murders of Atiq Ahmad and his brother, Ashraf in broad day light.

The arrest of the Muslim Personal Law Board Chief is also linked to a case filed a month ago, involving allegations of professional misconduct and theft. Critics, including activists and scholars, have condemned the timing of his detention, which occurred under the cover of night, casting doubt on procedural justice. Moreover, his arrest has been denounced as politically motivated.

The remarks made by Azhari that led to his arrest, also ignited controversy on social media. With different opinions on this matter, his supporters argue that his comment on crackdown on Madrassas merely reflects legitimate concerns regarding religious freedom and the rights of minority communities.

Many scholars from the area testified in favor of Hafiz Azhari throughout the court hearings, raising questions about the constitutionality of the arrest. Despite objections raised by the local Muslim community, police proceeded with the arrest.

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