Friday, February 06, 2009

National Anthem Controversy in Madhya Pradesh and St. Thomas School


The Republic Day celebrations of this year in Madhya Pradesh remembered for quiet a number of days. It is due to the controversy arose from political, Governmental and social sector. The first controversy was heard Bhopal ward no. 31 of Bhopal Municipal Corporation. Here the Cooperator Mrs. Vandana Parihar un-noticingly hoisted the BJP Party flag in place of National Flag. She got over with it by the support of Mr. Alok Sanchar, the district of BJP. He said that the function was organized for the party to pray for the nation, and it has nothing to do with hoisting of national flag. The Second was from the State Minority Commission member Mr. Kulvant Singh who stopped National Anthem in between and asked all the participants to sing the National Song – Vande mataram- . He justified himself saying that he had issued instructions to all members to sing the National Song in place of National Anthem. The third was alleged to be a minister of the Sivrag Singh Government in Ashoknagar District of Madhya Pradesh unknowingly hoisted the National Flag Upward-down. In all these incidents no action is taken against anybody. The action of the Minority Commission is being justified by the alleged offender. He issued press statements in this regard justifying the act. In-spite of this the police is silent on this issue.

In this raw we have to see the National Anthem controversy in St. Thomas School , Bhopal. The Principal of the school Fr. Thomas Malancharuvil narrates that Sports teacher Arvind Gupta as per the custom of the School was given the responsibility of making arrangements for the Republic Day Celebrations. He is alleged to be a disobedient teacher came that day also late. He came only after eight thirty i.e one hour late as the decision of the school. The school had told him to do the preparations between seven thirty and eight. So that the school can begin the function by eight am. The whole programme could start only by eight forty five because no-one knew where the flag is kept by the sports teacher. After having all programmes related to Republic day the Principal announced that the school is hurt by the irresponsible behaviour of the teacher and the administration is suspending him for three days.

The teacher pleaded that he will not repeat laxity in duty and pardon him. The teacher with the cooperation a Lalit Sahu, the Drawing teacher and Thomas , the Music teacher wanted the principal to ask pardon to Sports teacher infront of all teacher and students. Their argument was that the pricipal suspended him in the public gathering so it must be equal in all regard. The School administration refused to do so. The three immediately took the help of Hindu organizations and accused the principal of insulting the National Anthem. An indentedent committee met the teachers in this regard and it was told by the staff that these teachers are trouble makers ever since the new principal toook charge.

The police knew that the incident has no link to the National Anthem so no FIR was made under the complaint made by the teacher. The issue took a new turn when on 2nd February a group of ABVP activists vandalized school premisses. They destryed the office of the school. The police says that they are under pressure from all sides so they have registered a cae against father under the disrespect to National Anthem. It is a non-bailable offence. So the pricipal had to take bail from District Court. In this incident the ABVP activists also attacked one police personnal. He was injured so the police canned and they were arrested.

Mean while the Christian organization Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh asked the Colector and SP of Bhopal District to conduct a Magiserial enquiry on the matter to assertain the truth, order a high leven enquiry into the role of the Piplani station officer for he has worked in a partisan manner, the district administration must ask the ABVP to pay for the dammage. They have told the district administration that if in three days time if no action is taken then the organization will approach the court for justice.

The Congress Party, Marxists, Different Religious Heads and Secular Organizations have raised question on the partician behaviour of the Police. They held protests in suppport of the Principal. They alos have asked the district administration to withdraw the case against the principal. The whole incident has put a question to the Government that what is the critieria of taking action against a person with regard to the national anthem ? How does the police take action on a person by flauting the law to save themselves from political preasure ? What is the condition of Law and Order under the BJP regime ?

Fr. Anand Muttugnal

PRO & Spokesperson

Catholic Church, M.P