The principal of a government-run school in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district has been suspended by the state’s education department after right-wing groups reportedly complained to the police about a prayer song sung by the children. The police have filed a case. No one has been arrested yet.
The suspension came after a video clip of the children singing a popular Urdu language prayer “lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri” in the morning assembly was widely circulated.
The clip shows the part where the children are heard singing the lines “mere allah burai se bachaana mujhko”.
The police said they filed the case because the prayer is not part of the daily prayer schedule of government schools and has to do “with a religion”.
“The prayer was not part of the approved list and pertained to a community,” said a senior police officer of the area.
The education department said the principal has been suspended on basis of initial information and they will conduct an inquiry into the matter.
The song in question was penned in 1902 by Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal, who also wrote the famous lines “Sare jahan se achcha Hindustan hamara”.
In 2019, a headmaster in the state’s Pilibhit district was also suspended after the students were heard singing the song. Following a complaint by the local unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the authorities had taken action.
At the time, reports said the Pilibhit District Magistrate had claimed the headmaster was suspended because he was not making the students sing the national anthem.
Last month, right-wing activists in Karnataka’s Udupi held protests against the authorities of a private school after the students staged a performance of “Azan”, the Muslim call to prayer at a sports event. The Mother Teresa Memorial School at Shankaranarayana town had to apologise after the activists confronted the school authorities.
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