Published: 02nd August 2022
Kanpur school Kalima row escalates. Parents file FIR. School declares 3-day holiday
Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party staged a demonstration at the private school on Monday, accusing it of 'forcing religion on children'
After some parents and members of right-wing Hindu groups objected to the recitation of Islamic verse or the Kalima at the morning assembly in Florets International School, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh yesterday, August 1, the police have now registered a case against the school's Managing Director.
The case was filed by a parent, Ravi Rajpoot, under IPC Section 295A (deliberate malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class) and Section 5(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, according to a report by PTI. Parents and protesting members of right-wing Hindu groups claimed that the school was attempting to "force religion on children".
The school, in its defense on Monday, said that the recitation of verses from various religions, including the Gayatri Mantra (Hinduism), the Gurbani (Sikhism) and Kalima (Islam), has been a part of its tradition for two decades, since its inception, as part of its 'Sarva Dharma Samman' (all religions are equal) philosophy. "There is surely no intention of promoting any one religion. It has been a practice at this school for years. The school diary has verses from all major religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity and Islam. Reciting verses was started as a practice to give equal respect to all religions. Now, all of a sudden, a group of Hindu radicals and some parents have opposed it," said the school's Managing Director, Sumit Makhija, against whom the FIR has been registered.
A holiday was declared at the school on Monday, after some parents and members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged protests against the recitation of the Islamic verses in the morning assembly. Given the unrest, it has also been decided to keep the school close for two more days on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Makhija to PTI.