School Closed In Bengal After ‘Islamic Fundamentalists’ Forcefully Celebrate ‘Nabi Diwas’ On Premises

The Tehatta High School was closed on Nov 29. Source: Subham Dutta/Indian Express

A government-aided school in West Bengal’s Howrah district was shut down by the authorities after Islamic fundamental groups and students from the related community forcefully entered the school campus and celebrated "Nabi Diwas" on the school premises to mark the birth of Prophet Mohammad without permission from concerned authorities, India Today reported.

Muslim students in Uluberia’s Tehatta High School, who the school authorities say were influenced by local Islamic leaders, said they would forcibly conduct celebrations of Nabi Diwas in the School on December 13 after Hindus in the town were granted permission for Saraswati Puja celebrations on its premises. Following initial tensions, which saw sloganeering and vandalism, the school authorities wrote two letters to the police - on 16 December and 27 January - warning of the impending danger.

"With due respect I am informing you that on 13th December 2016 some students of class IX, X and outsiders influenced by some local Islamic fundamental groups forcefully entered the school campus causing communal tension, celebrated Biswanabi Dibas without taking permission from the school authority and disturbed school atmosphere," one of the letters read."Nabi Diwas" on the school premises

Under pressure from the Muslim community, the local authorities called a meeting at the at the SDO office on 20 December. Muslim cleric Kasem Siddiqui attended the meeting, without any representation from other communities, and permission was granted for "Nabi Diwas" celebration in the School for fifteen minutes. However, permission was denied after state education department interfered.

Defying this, Muslim students forcibly set up a stage inside the school premises and vitiated the atmosphere. The School was then shut down by the District Inspector of Schools (Secondary Education) in Howrah, who cited an "ongoing administrative problem" as the cause.

School has remained under lockdown for the last two months and Saraswati Puja celebrations, scheduled for today, have not been allowed.

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