A Muslim teacher in the Indian state of Bihar was beaten up after he declined to say ‘Vande Mataram’ at a flag-hoisting ceremony on Republic Day on January 26.
The video of local residents in Bihar’s Katihar district beating Afzal Hussain, primary schoolteacher, has gone viral, reported The Hindustan Times.
According to Hussain, saying ‘Vande Mataram’ is against his religious belief.
“We believe in Allah and Vande Mataram is against our belief. The term means vandana (praise in Hindi) of Bharat Mata which is not what we believe in,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying. “Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that saying Vande Mataram is necessary. I could have lost my life.”
District education officer Dinesh Chandra Dev said he did not receive 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.
The national song has sparked controversies on several occasions. It was written by Bengali poet Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1876.