Allahabad school manager who ‘banned’ national anthem jailed, tension grips area
Members of two religious groups clashed on Monday morning after the arrest of a private school’s manager for allegedly disallowing the singing of the national anthem at his institution in this Uttar Pradesh city.
Authorities controlled the situation, tightened vigil, and arrested five people after clashes outside the school, located in the Bada Baghara locality.
Zia ul Haq, the manager of MA Convent School, was arrested on Sunday night on charges of banning the national anthem in the morning assembly, and running the institution illegally without permission from the education department.
Trouble began on Friday when the school principal and eight teachers quit in protest against the alleged ban imposed by Haq. They alleged that Haq disallowed the singing of the anthem as the phrase “Bharat Bhagya Vidhata” went against the tenets of Islam.
As news of the ban spread, supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and many residents staged a protest march outside the school on Sunday evening.
Haq’s arrest later at night aggravated the situation. His supporters marched to the school on Monday morning, and clashed with people who had gathered in protest against Haq’s ban.
Authorities rushed forces to control the situation.
“We are taking preventive measures to avert a communal clash. Security personnel are carrying out a flag march in the area. The situation is tense, but under control,” said chief development officer Andra Vamsi.
The district administration constituted a three-member team to probe the incident, and an order has been issued to seal the school.
“The education department has been requested to arrange shifting of nearly 300 students enrolled there to some other school so that their studies do not suffer,” Vamsi said.
“Moreover, the school’s manager has reportedly said he has never allowed recital of the national anthem ever since the school started.”
A magisterial probe has also been ordered to look into how the school was allowed to run for two decades without any clearance from authorities.
(With agency inputs)