New Delhi: On a day when an engineering college in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district suspended two teachers for asking a student to not greet the audience at a cultural event of the institute with the Hindu religious slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’, the principal of a primary school in Lucknow was suspended for allegedly allowing some “seven-eight” students to do Friday namaz at a designated prayer area within its premises.
According to news reports, Meera Yadav, the principal of the primary school at Napier Road in Lucknow’s Thakurganj area, was suspended with immediate effect under the Uttar Pradesh Government Servant (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999 on October 21 after a video was reportedly widely circulated showing the students of the school offering namaz within its premises.
Like in the Ghaziabad case – where Hindutva outfits created an uproar citing a widely circulated video and demanding action against the teachers for stopping the student from shouting Jai Shri Ram – in the Lucknow incident too, right-wing groups reached the school premises after learning of the incident and argued with the principal of the school, following which the Lucknow basic shiksha department investigated the incident.
The internal inquiry conducted by the ABES Engineering College in Ghaziabad recommended the suspension of the two teachers within a day’s time. The same was the case in the Lucknow incident.
Reports said the Lucknow investigation was carried out by Dinesh Katiyar, the block education officer.
Yadav, the school’s principal, was suspended for negligence under government service rules, the Times of India reported.
IANS quoted Lucknow basic shiksha official Arun Kumar as saying that “some children offered namaz at the Primary School Napier Road, Basic Shiksha Nagar Area-4, Lucknow, on Friday which is contrary to departmental guidelines. Other teachers of the school have also confirmed it.”
Kumar also said, “Moreover, a separate strict warning has also been issued to other teachers of the school – Tehzeeb Fatima and Mamta Mishra – considering them accomplices in the said act.”
The Indian Express quoted Kumar as saying in an official letter that departmental action will be taken against Fatima and Mishra.
A majority of the students at the primary school belong to the Muslim community, the Express cited officials as saying.
Some teachers from the school told the Times of India on the condition of anonymity that Yadav had allowed students to pray in the school premises on Friday (October 20) because otherwise they used to go home for namaz and not come back for their remaining classes.