In July, Gujarat education authorities instructed all the schools, government as well as private, to include a prayer for Bharat Mata from August 1 during the assembly sessions. This initiative is part of the 75th year of independence – Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav – celebrations. The authorities believe that if a school includes such activities regularly, it will help inculcate a sense of patriotism among the students.
However, the state’s Muslim outfit, Jamiat Ulama Gujarat, has resisted this diktat, saying it was forcing students who follow Islam to go against their religion. The organization has asserted that it would participate in the Azadi Mahotsav wholeheartedly and was not against the celebrations, but praying to Bharat Mata was not accepted.
In its statement, Jamiat Ulama asserted that Islam does not allow its followers to worship idols and those who do so will no longer be Muslims. This is why the government’s diktat is unacceptable. The group has filed an objection in this matter, where it has said, “Your instructions to pray Bharat Mata is contrary to the basic, principles and rights of people who believe in Islam and who do not believe in idol worship, which is prohibited in Islam. Followers of Islam can never worship an idol and if they do, they cease to be Muslims. Thus, Muslims cannot worship any idol, be it Bharat Mata or any other idol.”
Furthermore, Jamiat Ulama has also stated that this diktat was against the constitutional principles of religious freedom and secularism and so was not accepted.