After word spread on social media that a private school in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has been forcing kids of all religions to recite “Kalma” during morning assembly, the school found itself in the centre of a controversy. The school in question is Florets International School, a privately owned institution in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. After a video of the identical occurrence went viral on Sunday, the incident came to light.

Many parents and representatives of various Hindu organisations showed up at the school and organised demonstrations once the news spread widely. They complained to the school administration about making kids recite the Kalma during the morning prayers. This information was passed on to the Kanpur police, who arrived at the school’s grounds on Monday morning with top officials and filed a complaint against the private institution for allegedly forcing Hindu students and other non-Muslim children to recite “Kalma” every day.

Republic TV quoted Ankit Gupta, the parent of a child as saying, “One day my daughter said that she is unable to learn this (Kalma). We filed the complaint in school. They asked us to give a written complaint. In another branch, they sing Muslim prayers on speakers. We will put our child in a different school if this is the case.” Many other parents also raised concerns about their children being forced to recite the Islamic prayer. “My son studies here. For the last few days, my son was reciting the Kalma at home. My wife raised concern about it. When we spoke to our son, he said that every day after prayer the school teaches it to them. My concern is why should my son read this. What if he disapproves of his own religion after some days,” exclaimed the enraged parent of another student studying at Kanpur’s Florets International School.

Nishank Sharma, ACP, took cognizance of the matter and stated that they learned about Kalma being taught to kids at Florets International school via a tweet. He said that as soon as they were made aware of it, the district magistrate and the local police were alerted, and a police team went to the school to look into the situation. He continued by saying that when the police arrived at the school, they discovered that this process had been going on for the previous 12–13 years. He said that prayers from all four major religions—Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Christian—are also included in the school notebook. The school administration stated that up until this point, no one had ever objected to this practise, he noted.He further informed that the school authorities reportedly told the police in its defense that prayers of all four religions were recited at the school during the morning assembly to boost the “Sarva Dharma Samman” ideology.

After the controversy broke out the school has decided to stop the practise. The ACP informed “The school authorities after the objection decided that only the national anthem will be recited during the assembly. They have stopped all the other prayers,”.

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