UP: Bareilly Shiksha Mitra Arrested for Making Students Recite Urdu Poetry, Sacked
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Lucknow: A Shiksha Mitra was arrested on Friday for allegedly making students recite ‘Lab pe aati hai dua’ instead of the national anthem in the Bareilly district.
The para-teacher, who was also dismissed from service, allegedly made students sing renowned Urdu poet Muhammad Iqbal's poetry for the school’s morning assembly. The poet is also known to have written ‘Saare jahaan se achcha’.
Wazeeruddin (55), a native of Mirdhan Faridpur of Bareilly district was sacked by the state Education Department with officials saying that he was found to be “guilty” of getting the students to recite the prayer, which is not prescribed for government schools.
"The Shiksha Mitra, Wazeerduddin, was arrested and has been sent to judicial custody while Nahid Siddiqui, the principal was on leave when the said incident happened. Based on the findings of the investigation, further action will be taken against her," Superintendent of Police (Rural) Rajkumar Agarwal told NewsClick.
When asked to elaborate on the alleged crime, the SP said the arrest followed an act of "hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus".
The video of the alleged incident had been sent for forensic examination, according to Agarwal.
Basic Education Officer of the district Vinay Kumar added that the school’s principal, Nahid Siddiqui, was suspended earlier.
Wazeeruddin and principal Siddiqui were booked on Wednesday following a complaint by a local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader. In his complaint, VHP leader Sompal Singh Rathore had alleged that the prayer is not meant for government school but madrasas (Islamic seminaries). The VHP leader alleged that forcing Hindu students to sing 'religious prayer' at government schools is a bid to convert the students.
The case against Siddiqui and Wazeeruddin was lodged under Sections 298 (deliberate intention to wound religious sentiments) and 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Wazeeruddin, a shiksha mitra who earns Rs 10,000, is the sole breadwinner for a family of seven.
"On Friday, the police arrested my father from school. He was at school as usual. We got call from an unknown number and were asked to come to collect his mobile phone and other stuff as he was being sent for judicial custody. When we reached, we questioned how reciting content from the students’ syllabus is a crime. The officers present there simply smirked,” alleged Irshad, Wazeeruddin's son, a student.
He added that his father has been in service since 2007 and not a single incident like this had happened. “We are clueless why my father is being hounded,” he said.
Islam Khan, Wazeeruddin's lawyer, told NewsClick, "Lab pe aati hai is in the book and the book is provided by the government. If they have a problem with the prayer, they should approach the government to not distribute the book from the next session. A teacher will teach their students whatever is written in the book and is in the syllabus. He will get bail soon as it will not stand before the court."
Khan alleged that the case against Wazeeruddin has been crafted under "pressure from the VHP". “VHP has alleged that the para teacher was trying to convert students to Islam, but that is baseless. He was not making children recite Kalma (Islamic verses). It was a poem written by a noted Urdu poet and it's in the book," he added.
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