At a government-run school in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, a teacher and the principal have been booked by the police for making students recite a prayer common in Islamic madrassas. They both have been booked under charges of hurting religious sentiments. The poem was penned a century ago by Mohammed Iqbal who was later hailed as the ‘ideological founder’ of Pakistan.
A viral video shows students assembled for the morning prayer at the school playground and reciting a poem, ‘Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua’.
As per a report by Indian Express, the incident took place at the Kamla Nehru primary school located in the Para area of the city. A case was registered at the Faridpur police station on 21 December while the accused teacher, Wazeeruddin, was arrested on 23 December. The principal, Nahid Siddiqui, was suspended pending inquiry.
As per a report by Hindi Daily Navbharat Times, the Basic Siksha Adhikari (BSA) for Bareilly, Vinay Kumar said, “A video related to the incident went viral on the internet. The prayer includes something like ‘Allah Ibadat Karna’ which is not the stipulated prayer hence the principal has been suspended.”
Kumar also initiated a probe against teacher (Siksha Mitra in Uttar Pradesh) Wazeeruddin, who is 49. He teaches Urdu at the school.
On the other hand, the complainant, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) district head Sompal Singh Rathore, told the media that these two (the principal and the teacher) were making students recite a prayer of another religion for months now. They were trying to get students converted to Islam by reciting Iqbal’s poem, he said. The parents of some students complained to them after which the VHP volunteers recorded a video of the prayer.
Reports say Wazeeruddin was taken to the police station from the school premises. He has been booked under IPC sections 298 (hurting religious sentiments) and 153 (provoking people knowing it may lead to riots).
A report quoted the son of Wazeeruddin, Irshad, as saying, ‘My father has not done any crime. He did not ask students to recite any such poem in the morning prayers. He was going to the school even after an FIR was lodged against him; he did not run away like a criminal.’
On the other hand, another teacher from the school, Kamlesh Kumari, told the media that students were reciting the poem that day as a task in their ‘ classroom activities’. The VHP volunteers complained as all the students were reciting the poem.
She said that there are 300 students at the school out of which the maximum number of students come from the Muslim community.
Another such incident took place in October 2019 at a government school in Pilibhit town of Uttar Pradesh. Here also, the principal of the school, Fuqran Ali, was booked after a video of students from the school reciting an Islamic poem went viral.
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