The manager of a private school in Allahabad was held late on Sunday after some teachers complained that he banned the singing of national anthem in the morning assembly, officials said.
The principal and eight teachers of the school have quit to protest against the alleged ban imposed by manager Zia-ul Haq on the singing of the national anthem. His instructions were verbal.
Authorities said a probe was launched against MA Convent School in Sadiyabad locality. The institute, which is not recognised by the education department, will be sealed on Monday, a senior official said.
NDTV quoted an education official as saying that the school was asked to stop operations a week ago. Its manager, Zia-Ul Haq, has been arrested for running the school without a proper affiliation and also charged under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, media reports said.
“Even Supreme Court has said that a person is free to not sing the national anthem if any part of the anthem is against his or her religion,” NDTV quoted Haq as saying.
Additional SP (city) Rajesh Yadav said: “The complainants (education department officials) had alleged that the school manager, by his refusal to allow (the) singing of the national anthem and statements issued before the media defending his action, has caused breach of peace and tension in the area.”
“We have taken him into custody and further action will follow.”
Chief development officer and officiating district magistrate Andra Vamsi said the decision to lodge an FIR against Haq was taken on the basis of the proof collected against him.
Vamsi said after the school is sealed, its 300-odd students will be shifted to other institutes within two days.
Haq had told teachers that singing of the national anthem could not be allowed as the phrase ‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ went against the tenets of Islam, the teachers who resigned two days ago alleged.
“Most of us have been working here for not a very long time. We were shocked to learn from the management that the school has never allowed the singing of national anthem in the last 12 years.
“Since we had been asked to fall in line or leave, we chose a decision based on our conscience,” Ritu Tripathi, who was the principal, said.
The right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad and residents staged a protest outside the school on Sunday evening.
(With agency inputs)