Kolkata: The Bengal government has issued a notification making singing of the national anthem mandatory in schools during assembly .
While West Bengal Board of Secondary Education has referred to a Madras high court order in its March 3 notification, sources say a mob assault on madrassa headmaster Kazi Masum Akhtar last year is the reason. Akhtar had apparently asked Talpukur Ara High Madrassa students to sing the national anthem in the assembly .
On November 10 last year, the board had issued a circular to schools stating: “Heads of institutions of all recognised schools under WBBSE are requested to do the needful to sing the national anthem during the school assembly before the commencement of school hours.“
Kazi Masum Akhtar said: “I am thankful to this government for the notification. I always asked my students to be patriots and good Muslims. But the school governing committee incited locals against me, saying I had taught students sacrilegious things.“
Akhtar was assaulted with iron rods that resulted in a severe head injury and left him hospitalized for months. The attack came even as police looked on and a local cleric issued a fatwa against him. “Ever since, I cannot enter my school. I have received threats to my life.Police refused to give me security ,“ he said.
Madrassa managing committee secretary Sirajul Islam Mondal had earlier said his allegations were baseless and politically motivated. Kazi Masum Akhtar, however, said he was ready to face any probe.
Akhtar cannot even set foot in the area despite being appointed after a government interview. The fatwa bans him from entering the school unless he wears the traditional attire (kurtashort pajama) and grows a beard, the length of which would be decided by the madrassa maulanas, he said.Akhtar was also asked to send them photos every week to examine the progress of his beard growth. They claimed it was anti-Islamic to sing the `Hindu’ national anthem and hoist the Tricolour in an Islamic teaching institution, claimed Akhtar
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