ALLAHABAD: Police has arrested the manager of a school here who refused to allow recital of national anthem on Independence Day, while authorities on Monday began proceedings for sealing the school, which was allegedly running illegally, and stepped up security due to tension in the area.
Zia-ul Haq, manager of MA Convent School in Baghara locality, was booked under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and arrested, officials said.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered to look into how the school was allowed to run for two decades without any clearance from authorities and the allegation against the manager, they said.
BJP had demanded action against the school while local units of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Yuva Vahini had on Sunday threatened to launch an agitation if the school was not shut down within 72 hours.
“Orders for sealing the school have been issued. The education department has been requested to arrange shifting of nearly 300 students enrolled there to some other school so that their studies do not suffer,” officiating District Magistrate of Allahabad Andra Vamsee said.
An FIR was filed by the education department in the matter which came to light when eight of the school’s teachers, including its principal, resigned last week after they were denied permission to hold recital of the national anthem during the upcoming Independence Day celebrations.
Haq had defended the move, claiming that the phrase ‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ in the national anthem’s opening stanza violated the basic tenets of Islam.
The DM said, “A magisterial probe has also been ordered to look into how the school was allowed to run for two decades without any clearance from authorities. Education department officials say that recently they had even sent a notice asking them to shut down the school which was being run illegally”.
Moreover, the school’s manager has reportedly said that he has never allowed recital of the national anthem ever since the school started. “The investigation will also cover this issue and it would be probed as to whether there had been complaints in the past against the school on this count and if so what action was taken,” he said.
Vamsee said that the manager was arrested when it was observed that “the controversy was creating some tension”. It could have resulted in animosity between members of different communities, he added. Meanwhile, police and Provincial Armed Constabulary have been deployed in the vicinity of the school to prevent any untoward incident in the area, Additional SP (City) Rajesh Yadav said.