BJP leaders ‘purify’ Kanpur school amid protests over recitation of Muslim prayer
The protests prompted Kanpur’s district magistrate Vishak G Iyer to ask the education department to submit a report
Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders “purified” a school premises in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur with the Ganga water on Monday amid protests over the recitation of a Muslim prayer there.
The protests prompted Kanpur’s district magistrate Vishak G Iyer to ask the education department to submit a report. He said an official has been asked to visit the school and meet teachers, parents, and students and submit the report.
Assistant police commissioner Nishank Varma said he spoke to the school principal, Sumit Makhija, who maintained students have been reciting Hindu, Sikh, Christian, and Muslim prayers for the last 12-13 years. Makhija was unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts.
Varma quoted Makhija as saying that no one ever objected to the prayers but a parent raised the issue sometime back and then the school decided to drop all religious prayers and made singing of the national anthem mandatory in the morning assembly.
The school organised the multi-faith prayers starting with “Gayatri Mantra”. Vishva Hindu Parishad staged a demonstration outside the school over the Muslim prayer following which it was closed for the day. Additional district magistrate Atul Kumar said an inquiry into the issue was going on.
The matter came under the spotlight after a video of a woman asking her daughter wearing the school uniform about the Muslim prayer went viral on Sunday night. The 59-second video was tweeted tagging chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
Local BJP leaders Mahendra Shukla and Dheeraj Sahu visited the school demanding stringent action against the management. Shukla said the school premises has been purified with Ganga water. “How can they make students recite kalima [Muslim prayer]? This is not justified,” he said.
A heavy police force was deployed outside the two branches of the school in Kanpur.