The Assam government's decision to make singing of India's national song Vande Mataram compulsory in schools has sparked a row, with an influential Muslim-based political party opposing the directive.
The education department has made it mandatory for all students to sing at least two stanzas of Vande Mataram on September 7, to mark the beginning of the centenary year celebrations of the national song.
"The government cannot make it mandatory for everyone to sing Vande Mataram. This is against the ideals of Islam and nothing political in it," said Badruddin Ajmal, president of the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) and a member of the state assembly, said.
An official said the government notification follows a letter from central Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh asking the state to make singing of Vande Mataram compulsory in all educational institutions on September 7.