The principal of a private school was booked in Prayagraj on Wednesday on charges of “hurting religious sentiments” after she allegedly directed students to post 20-second videos wearing “Eid attire” as part of a school activity, reported Indian Express.
The school administration, meanwhile, has defended the principal, Bushra Mustafa (47), and said that such activities are organised on other Hindu festivals like Diwali, Dussehra, and Independence Day and Republic Day as well.
According to Indian Express report, she was booked after a complaint was lodged by one Lalmani Tiwari, who is a zonal in-charge of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Gau Raksha Vibhag, at Keedganj police station.
Mustafa was booked under IPC section 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and under section 67 of the IT Act.
Mustafa is the principal of CBSE-affiliated Nyaya Nagar Public School located in Havelia area under Jhunsi police station. The school has over 1,200 students.
Prayagraj SSP Ajay Kumar said, “We are recording the statement of the principal to figure out if it was her intention to hurt or incite religious feelings of anyone or not. She has said that she did it to maintain equality so that students of all faiths know about each other’s religions. The FIR was lodged on Wednesday and further investigation is underway.”
Tewaris’ complaint reads: “This is to inform you that a message was sent to students of Nyay Nagar Public school. The message read, ‘Students have to make a short video of 20 seconds dressed up in salwar kurta with Eid cap (boys), salwar kurta with dupatta (girls) saying Happy Eid’. After the message trended, there was anger among those who read this message and belonged to other religions. My religious feelings were hurt… School Principal Bushra Mustafa is a Muslim woman who has a communal thinking and she has misused her position.”
“She has done this as part of a conspiracy to hurt the religious sentiments and to ruin the atmosphere of schools and colleges… This has been done like the hijab row in Karnataka to ruin communal harmony. On May 3, along with Eid, two major Hindu festivals – Akshay Tritiya and Lord Parshuram Jayanti – were also celebrated. But the principal didn’t give any activity or programme which shows her intention,” the complaint further stated.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Thursday, Nyaya Nagar Public School Secretary Suchitra Verma said that the complaint was lodged “as part of a conspiracy by some people who work at a nearby school who are jealous of the excellent work done by the principal and which has yielded great results for the school.”
“The principal is a secular-minded person….The incident has been exaggerated. There is another school in the neighborhood which does these things. I feel there are some people who have made an issue out of nothing to bring the principal down as her record is excellent,” said Verma.
“At the school, we celebrate festivals of all religions to give students a chance to know more about them. She organised the activity for Eid for students of nursery and preparatory classes. She had asked for photographs of students dressed up for Eid and the pictures would have gone up on the school website. She didn’t ask any students to offer namaz or follow any religious practice. We do similar activities for Diwali and Dussehra where students dress up as Lord Ram and Hanuman and other Hindu gods and goddesses,” added Verma.