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Protests break in school for allowing Friday Namaz in premises

Gujarat: Government investigates student namaz in school program amid protests

October 4, 2023

Hindu right-wing activists staged a protest on Tuesday, prompting the Gujarat government to launch an inquiry after Hindu students were reportedly asked to participate in namaz (Islamic prayer) as part of an awareness program at a private school in the city. Videos from the protest showed a teacher being assaulted.

The state government initiated the investigation into the event, which took place at Kalorex Future School in the Ghatlodia area of the city on September 29. The school clarified that the purpose of the program was to promote awareness of various religious practices and that no student was compelled to engage in Islamic prayer. They also issued an apology.

A video from the event, later removed from the school’s Facebook page, showed a primary section student performing namaz, followed by four other students reciting ‘Lab pe aati hai dua,’ an Islamic prayer. Activists from organizations like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bajrang Dal, and other right-wing groups protested on the school premises.

Minister of State for Primary, Secondary, and Adult Education Praful Pansheriya expressed concern, stating that such programs in schools could disrupt the state’s peaceful environment. He pledged to conduct an investigation to determine the motives behind the program and take appropriate action.

Meet Bhavsar, Gujarat ABVP’s media coordinator, explained that they protested after learning that Hindu students were pressured to participate in namaz during the activity. The school management subsequently apologized and assured that such activities would not occur in the future, especially since only Hindu students were enrolled.

During the protest, a teacher seen playing a musical instrument in the event’s video was assaulted by activists and angry parents, as seen in viral videos. No police case had been registered at the time of reporting.

In a written apology, the school management expressed its intention to exercise caution in the future. The school principal, Nirali Dagli, clarified that it was their tradition to educate students about various religions and their practices before festivals. She stated that the activity was carried out to inform students about Eid and similar events, emphasizing that no student was forced to participate in namaz, and consent from parents was obtained.

Source: PTI

Also read: Protests break in school for allowing Friday Namaz in premises

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