A government school in Shivajinagar of Bengaluru has been accused of discriminating against non-Muslims and allocating a separate hall for doing Namaz. The teachers have also been accused of allowing Namaz during school hours and forcing students to attend Namaz in the school.
The building of the Government V.K.O school which was renovated by a charitable organisation called IMA at the cost of 16 crores was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah himself. The special gesture was made by the CM as Roshan Baig, a Minister in his government was an alumnus of the school. The IMA is accused of influencing admissions in the school by locals.
The video of the students doing Namaz inside the school has given credence to the allegations.
#BIGNEWS: Govt school in Shivajinagar was caught in controversy for allocating a room for Friday prayers on students’ request. It was seen as preferential treatment given to members of a certain community. The school has denied the charges saying that they are secular. pic.twitter.com/t6rcz8oRr3
— NEWS9 (@NEWS9TWEETS) February 24, 2018
The teacher and principal of the school denied these allegations when confronted by reports of News9 and PublicTV. However, when they were showed the video, the principal conceded that the students may have done Namaz in the school building but it had not come to her attention so far. When reporters asked if that is allowed, she said that she will check with officials.
The teacher conceded that the students of class 9 and 10 go out for Namaz on Fridays. She added that class 8 students do Namaz in one of the buildings for ‘concentration’ purposes. The teacher said that they don’t force or stop the students from doing Namaz.
Forcing students to participate in prayers in a government-funded institution is unconstitutional and against fundamental rights assured under the constitution. Article 38 of the constitution says (emphasis added)
Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions
(1) No religion instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds
(2) Nothing in clause ( 1 ) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution
(3) No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto Cultural and Educational Rights
The block education officer has agreed to look into the matter as per reports. The Congress-led government in Karnataka needs to launch an investigation into these allegations and ensure that all students in the Government V.K.O school are treated equally.