A political controversy marred the centenary celebrations of the National Song Vande Mataram — the signature tune of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay — on Thursday with the BJP raking up the absence of Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a Congress-organised group-singing session, while Muslim institutions in BJP-ruled states by and large defied the government directive.
The BJP, which earlier made a big issue of Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh's decision to make the singing optional, accused Sonia Gandhi of playing “vote bank and appeasement” politics by “consciously and deliberately” staying away from the function at the Seva Dal office adjoining the Congress headquarters.
At least three persons, including a boy, were injured in a clash during a Vande Matram procession in Meerut’s Phalawda area. Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajran Dal allegedly veered from the route earmarked by officials and slipped into a narrow lane in the Muslim dominated Kani Patti locality.
“They raised slogans against the community, triggering a clash,” senior superintendent of police Navneet Sekera said. The office of the Masajid Comittee (apex forum of mosques) office in Bhopal was ransacked by irate committee workers when secretary Syed Waseemuddin asked them to sing Vande Mataram.
The employees were unwilling to sing the song while Waseemuddin insisted that they recited it. However, the city superintendent of police, Sajjanabad, Ajay Pandey said he did not receive any compliants.
Most of the madrasas in states like Chhatisgarh, Orissa, Jammu, Gujarat and Orissa refrained from chanting it. Attendance in madarasa were also thin.