Islamic clerics in Kashmir have reacted strongly to “forcing” schoolchildren to sing Vande Mataram during a Children’s Day function in Srinagar on Wednesday. They said the national song goes against the teachings of Islam.
A spokesperson of the School Education Department, however, denied that Vande Mataram was sung at the function.
Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Moulana Bashiruddin said reciting Vande Mataram was un-Islamic. According to him, schoolchildren were too young to understand its meaning and the authorities should refrain from forcing them to sing the song.
Mufti Nazir Ahmad Qasimi of Darul Uloom Rahimia said all Muslims scholars are of the opinion that the song is against the basic teachings of Islam.
Syedah Asiya Andrabi, chief of the radical Dakhtaran-e-Millat, a women’s separatist group, said reciting Vande Mataram was tantamount to contempt for Islam.
She told mediapersons that forcing schoolchildren to sing this song was done with a design. “It is a part of India’s cultural aggression on Kashmir”, the Dakhtaran chief said.
Syed Ali Geelani, the chairman of hardline faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, said making the children sing the national song was an attempt to “pollute the young minds and move them away from religion”.