Action under draconian NSA likely against UP madrasas for not singing national anthem on Independence Day

Written by Jeelani Khan Alig | Published on: August 17, 2017

District magistrates and SSPs swing into action as Yogi government hardens its stance towards madrasas in the state

Yogi Adityanath
Image: PTI

English translation of the lead story published on the front page of the multi-edition of the Urdu daily, Inquilab on Thursday

The Yogi government has further hardened its stance towards madrasas in the state. Last week an official circular was sent to all madrasas, instructing them on how Independence Day was to be celebrated in their institutions. Now, despite the fact that most madrasas celebrated Independence Day with fervor and enthusiasm, and the spirit of patriotism was rekindled among the children, the state government continues to eye madrasas with suspicion. 

According to sources, the authorities have received complaints that though Independence Day was celebrated and the tricolor hoisted, instead of the national anthem, what was sung in some madrasas was poet-philosopher Mohammed Iqbal’s sarey jehan se achcha Hindustan hamara.

It is feared that stringent action is likely against such madrasas, including the prosecution of madrasa authorities under the draconian provisions of the National Security Act (NSA). This has triggered a mixed reaction among Muslims. While some are critical of the madrasa authorities who decided not to sing the national anthem, many Muslims blame the Yogi government for needlessly raking up an issue.

The city Qazi of Lucknow, Maulana Abul Irfan Miyan of Firangi Mahal said it was a strange government in power in UP which instead of concentrating its energies major concerns of the state is trying to keep people trapped in religious and sentimental issues. He wanted to know whether citizens were free to celebrate Independence in their own way or as per the diktat of the government.

The maulana also wanted to know which would be a fit case for invoking the National Security Act: not singing national anthem or lynching people in the name of the holy cow. He ended up asking the government not to target madrasas and asserted that Muslims do not need a certificate from anyone as regards their love for the country.

Meanwhile, the UP state spokesperson of the Congress, Hilal Naqvi said the government should know when and under what circumstances to invoke the NSA. Naqvi added that to begin with he was not prepared to believe that any madrasa was remiss in not celebrating Independence Day. Even if some madrasas were at fault, is it an offence that invites the provisions of NSA? He alleged that both the state and the central governments were resorting to such measures to hide their own failures in governance.

It may be noted that the national anthem was sung in most madrasas on Independence Day and the same was also videographed. But reports are circulating in the media that in some madrasas the national anthem was not sung and the government is now proposing to take legal action against them. The District Magistrate and the district police are reportedly compiling a list of madrasas where the national anthem was not sung. Reportedly Bareilly district is especially under the scanner.

According to reports, the national anthem was sung in most madrasas in central and eastern UP but in many places a video shoot of the same was not done. The authorities from such madrasas are being quizzed over why they did not ensure the video shoot despite clear instructions to that effect.

It may be recalled that the Qazi of Bareily, Maulana Asad Raza Khan had announced in advance that singing Jana, gana, mana… was against the teachings of Islam since there are some words in the national anthem which were un-Islamic.

According to sources, the government is determined to act against madrasas against which there is definite evidence of the national anthem not having been sung there.

The circular issued by the UP Madrasa Board to all madrasas had made it clear that the hoisting of the national flag and singing of national anthem were obligatory on Independence Day. Under the draconian provisions of the NSA, the government may detain any person for any period of time without stating the reasons for the same.