Sri Rama Sene activists heckled headmaster: Essay on Prophet Muhammad

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By Our Correspondent, The India observer, TIO, NJ: Gadag, Karnataka Sept 28: A headmaster of a Government High School in Nagavi village in Gadag district of Karnataka was heckled by Sri Rama Sene activists as he had asked the students to write an essay on Prophet Muhammad at an essay writing competition organized in his school. The incident took place on September 27, 2022.

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“The Sri Rama Sene activists barged into the school premises and heckled me in my room for asking the students to write an essay on Prophet Muhammad,” said headmaster Abdul Munafar Bijapur to the media.

Bijapur, who has 28 years of experience in teaching, has been working in this school for the last three years. “Every month there are at least one or two events like this in the school. There were essay competitions on Kanaka Dasa, Purandara Dasa ,and other personalities too in the past. These essay competitions are held to introduce the students to these personalities and to help them improve their knowledge,” he said.

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Absolving himself from any wrongdoing, the headmaster said, “Earlier some people known to him offered to sponsor prize money of Rs 5000 for an essay competition on Prophet Muhammad and gave copies of the book with same. In order to improve knowledge among students, we organized an essay competition without any malafide intentions.”

“The headmaster defended his action stating that they celebrated Valmiki Jayanti, Kanaka Jayanti ,and other such events in past, likewise we conducted this event too.”

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 The headmaster denied the allegation of indulging in religious conversion of the students by organizing such ean vent.

However, Raju Khanappanavar of Sri Rama Sene said that they had gone to the school to question why the headmaster held the essay competition only on Prophet Mohammed.

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“The headmaster claims that some person came to the school and offered Rs 5,000 for the winner and he agreed to hold the essay competition. As a teacher, he should not allow the promotion of any one religion. In a way he is putting other communities in a bad light by promoting Islam among young minds,” he said.

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GM Basavalingappa, the deputy director of public instruction, Gadag, reacting to the incident said, “The headmaster gave the books to the 43 students who took part in the competition and he asked them to take it to their homes. There were no government circulars to conduct such competitions. I have ordered an inquiry into the incident,” he said.

Defending his action, the headmaster said, we have maintained all the records of holding programmes related to Hindu personalities and others and can produce them when needed.

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 “There were seven teachers who are witness to the event when a few activists of Sri Rama Sene barged into the premises and heckled me,” he further said.

“The heckling incident of the headmaster in a government school by anti-social elements belonging to right-wing Hindutva forces has left the school of 172 students and seven teachers in a state of shock,” he added.

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Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Sr.Journalist, Author based in Chennai, India. Writes frequently for the USA based News Portal, TheIndiaObserver. He is author of the book Soundings on South Asia, New Dawn Press (2005). He can be reached at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com or TIO, at Mediaiss@Gmail.com

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