Madras High Court order on ‘compulsory’ singing of Vande Mataram sparks political row in Maharashtra

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July 28, 2017 1:40 AM

SP's Maharashtra unit president and MLA, Abu Asim Azmi said he would not sing Vande Mataram even if he was "thrown out of the country".

Vande Mataram, Abu Asim Azmi, Maharashtra, SP Maharashtra, thrown out of the countrySP’s Maharashtra unit president and MLA, Abu Asim Azmi said he would not sing Vande Mataram even if he was “thrown out of the country”.(Image: IE)

The Madras High Court ruling on singing of Vande Mataram has triggered a political slugfest in Maharashtra with a BJP MLA today demanding its implementation in schools and colleges of the state, while AIMIM and SP MLAs opposed any such move.  While AIMIM MLA from Mumbai, Waris Pathan said that he would not sing the national song “even if anyone puts revolver to my head”, SP’s Maharashtra unit president and MLA, Abu Asim Azmi said he would not sing Vande Mataram even if he was “thrown out of the country”.  The reaction comes in the wake of a demand raised by senior BJP MLA Raj Purohit, who, citing the HC order, said singing of Vande Mataram should be made mandatory in all schools and colleges across Maharashtra.

Speaking to reporters outside the Vidhan Bhavan, Purohit, the BJP chief whip in the Assembly, stated that he would meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tomorrow and seek the latter’s intervention to make singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ compulsory.  “I will raise the demand in the House as well. I will tell the chief minister that the government should come up with a policy which would make it compulsory for everybody to sing ‘Vande Mataram’ at the beginning of an event and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ at the end,” Purohit said.  Reacting to Purohit’s demand, Pathan, who represents Byculla constituency in south Mumbai, said a particular ideology cannot be imposed on people.

“I will not sing Vande Mataram. My religion as well as law do not allow me to sing it. Even if anyone puts a revolver to my head, I will not sing it. I will oppose the demand in the House,” he said.  Azmi alleged the BJP was following the instructions of the RSS, which would eventually polarise the society.  “I am a true follower of Islam. Singing Vande Mataram would be against my religion as well as Constitution. A true Muslim will never sing it. I will also not sing Vande Matram even if I am thrown out of the country,” he told reporters.  However, the BJP’s otherwise unpredictable ally Shiv Sena backed Purohit.

Condemning the AIMIM and the SP, senior Sena leader and Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said they are “traitors”.  “They need to know that it (Vande Mataram) is a patriotic song which was sung by freedom fighters during the struggle for Independence,” he said.  In its order on Tuesday, the Madras HC made singing of the national song mandatory in schools across Tamil Nadu, at least twice a week.  As per the order, private and government schools in the southern state should ensure that their students sing the national song at least twice a week preferably on Monday and Friday.

The order also said the song can also be played in other government and private establishments at least once in a month. The high court also said that if any person or organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the song, they shall not be compelled or forced to sing it, provided there are valid reasons for not doing so.

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