Chennai: Nearly 200 students protested around midnight on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday outside the Madrasa-E-Azam Higher Secondary School on Anna Salai, fearing the demolition of the heritage building and, further, of the area being put to “commercial use”. According to souces, fake news on razing of all the buildings in the school, including the labs and mosque, on social media, galvanised the protest.
“Around 10:30 am, people started pouring in and by 2 pm, nearly 2,500 people, including old school students and members of the Muslim community gathered at the scene. The Deputy Commissioner of Police had arranged a meeting with the Joint Commissioner and other unions to sort the issue in the morning”, said Abdul Salam, election officer, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam.He further added that during the meeting, Education Minister, K. Sengottaiyan who was on a phone call ensured that the CMDA approved demolition of only one building, which too would be reconstructed according to the norms of Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI). Howver, sources said the demolition has been put on hold for now. Among the people who attended the meeting were members of Manidhaneya Munnetra Kazhagam, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, Tamil Nadu Thowheeth Jamath and Muslim League.
The school was built nearly 200 years ago and has a capacity to hold 1,500 students and yet only 203 students have enrolled due to its dilapidated structure.A wall reportedly collapsed and members from various communities say this has become a common occurrence since the building has been abandoned since 2001.
The Prince of Arcot is a descendent of the Founder of the Madrasa-e-Azam School. He had earlier said that his ancestors, the Nawabs of the Carnatic had provided the land and buildings for the establishment and running of the school in 1849. The purpose of devoting this school was solely to promote education.
The members of all the communities have also been fighting for the same. They said the building must only be used for educational purpose....