NEW DELHI — A Muslim teacher, identified as Afzal Hussain, in Bihar’s Katihar district was beaten up by locals after he refused to say ‘Vande Mataram’ following the flag-hoisting ceremony on Republic Day on January 26.
According to a report carried by The Hindustan Times, Afzal Hussain said he did not say ‘Vande Mataram’ as the same is against his religious belief.
“We believe in Allah and Vande Mataram is against our belief. The term means vandana of Bharat Mata which is not what we believe in,” he said, according to news agency ANI. “Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that saying Vande Mataram is necessary. I could have lost my life,” he said.
The video of local residents thrashing the primary school teacher, identified as Afzal Hussain, has gone viral.
District education officer Dinesh Chandra Dev told the media after the incident that he has not received any complaint regarding the incident. “Had we got any such information, an investigation would have been done. But till now we have not got any such complaint,” he said.
Bihar Education Minister KN Prasad Verma reportedly said, “action will be taken if an incident of this sort has occurred. National song’s insult is not forgivable at all”.
Vande Mataram is India’s national song and not National anthem and hence there is no constitutional compulsion to sing the song. The issue of Vande Mataram has sparked controversies in the past also.