Teachers in UP have paid a price for Hindutva campaigns against a song

Image: Scroll

Teachers were jailed, suspended and fired in UP just because of Hindutva campaigns against a hymn that is recited as a prayer every day in school.

In response to a complaint by Vishwa Hindu Parishad members, the police filed an FIR under Sections 298 and 153 of the Indian Penal Code, charging Waziruddin and another instructor of hurting religious sentiments with the aim to incite a disturbance.

Waziruddin, 55, learned to sing Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua, a poem by the renowned Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal, in school. Everyone, whether Hindus or Muslims, would recite it. He added ‘Par mahaul ab badal gaya hai (the situation has changed now).

Not only did this happen to Waziruddin,  four months ago the former elementary school teacher in a government school in Bareilly was forced out of his job accusing him of trying to convert some of them into Islam. Both of them spent 10 days in jail.

A group of parents protested outside a private school in Hathras three weeks ago under the direction of Hindutva groups, alleging that the management had made non-Muslim kids perform namaz.

However, the administration of BLS International School denied the accusations. They claimed that the kids had only sung Iqbal’s song as part of the school’s celebration of World Heritage Day. The principal and two instructors were eventually suspended, though.

The district government mandated an investigation. District Magistrate Archana Verma first told the reporters, “We have examined the footage and we did not discover anything like this. It was an occasion of culture. However, the instructors are still on administrative leave.

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According to Scroll, the BLS International School’s vice principal, Karnika Srivastava, told on Monday that the institution will decide whether to reinstate the suspended instructors after reviewing the district administration’s findings.

Ashutosh Kumar, the sub-district magistrate for Hathras, predicted that the investigation will take longer than the allotted five days. Since the municipal elections are taking up our time, the report won’t be submitted until after.

Moving forward has not been simple for educators like Waziruddin, who have come under attack from Hindutva extremists. With 30 years of teaching experience, Waziruddin has done everything since being released from prison to rebuild his life, including turning to heavy labor in the farms close to his town.

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