Kanpur: A private school here stopped the recitation of religious prayers in the morning assembly after a row erupted over allegations that the students were being compelled to recite Islamic verses.
The school also said they have discontinued the practice of reciting verses from different religions, including Sikhism, Hinduism, and Islam, in the assembly, and now only the national anthem will be sung.
The school authorities clarified that prayers of all religions were recited at the school during the morning assembly as part of the ‘Sarva Dharma Samman’ (all religions are equal) ideology. The controversy erupted after a parent tweeted that the students at Florets International School were compelled to recite the ‘Kalma Tayyab’ during the morning assembly following which the district administration ordered a probe.
Assistant CP (Seesamau) Nishank Sharma told PTI that after the tweet went viral, the information was shared with the district magistrate and other senior officials, who were directed to look into the matter. Sharma along with Additional City Magistrate-III Jiyalal Saroj reached the school and sorted out the issue amicably.
“We questioned the school managing director Sumeet Makhija who clarified that prayers of all four religions were recited at the school during the morning assembly as part of the ‘Sarva Dharma Samman’ ideology,” the ACP said.
Makhija noted that the school, established about two decades ago, had been encouraging the recital of ‘Gayatri Mantra’, ‘Gurubani’ and ‘Duaa’, which are part of Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and other religious verses, in the morning assembly to teach the students that all religions are equal.
The practice has been going on for over a decade, but suddenly some parents and people affiliated with right-wing groups objected to the practice, said ACM-III Saroj.
“The school diary has verses of all major religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity and Islam. There is surely no intention of promoting any one religion,” Makhija asserted. “From today, we have stopped reciting these prayers and started singing only the national anthem,” he added. City’s additional DM Atul Kumar told media that a written complaint was received and the police were asked to investigate the matter and take action accordingly. The school also declared a holiday on Monday owing to the controversy.