An FIR was lodged against the manager of a private school in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur on Tuesday under the state’s anti-conversion law and for hurting religious sentiments after a parent of a student complained about the ‘kalima’ being recited in the school during morning prayers. No arrest has been made yet, police said.
Kanpur’s Florets School has been embroiled in a controversy over allegations that its students were being made to recite Islamic prayers in the morning. Following objections from parents, the school said it has ended its practice of reciting prayers from four religions and decided to only sing the national anthem.
In his FIR, the father of a student alleged that seeds of conversion were being sown in children at the school and demanded that all branches of the school be sealed, fees be returned and arrangements be made to get students admitted into other schools, police said.
Following the complaint, the Kanpur police have now booked the manager under the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, and under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feeling of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the police, three days ago, they were alerted by a tweet that alleged that the school was making students recite Islamic prayers during morning prayers. Following this, a joint team of officials from the district administration and police met the school principal and the manager, who informed them that their students have been reciting prayers of four religions for the last several years and no parent had objected to it.
“School authorities also told us that on Friday, few parents objected to four prayers so they stopped it. Now, only the national anthem is being sung during morning prayers,” Kanpur Assistant Commissioner of Police Nishank Sharma.
In a video, school principal Ankit Yadav is purportedly heard saying that that school has been reciting four prayers since 2003, when the school started. “Parents of a few students raised objections now, after which we immediately took action and stopped four prayers. We are now going with the national anthem,” Yadav said.
People from different organisations, including the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Yuva Morcha, had created a ruckus at the school on Monday.