A private school in Allahabad has reportedly barred students from singing the national anthem, Vande Mataram or Saraswati Vandana during Independence Day celebrations on the ground that they are “un-Islamic”. Protesting against this, the principal of the school and seven other teachers resigned on Friday.

When contacted, Mohammad Zia-ul Haq, manager of M A Convent School in Sadiyabad locality of Allahabad district, said the decision was taken following objections from some Muslim parents.

“The national anthem has a line, ‘Bharat bhagya vidhata’, which is against Islam as Allah is our bhagya vidhata. How can we say Bharat has made our destiny,” he said. “In the national anthem, the country has been described as being bigger and more important than mazhab (religion) and khuda (god), which is unacceptable for any true Muslim,” said Haq.

“Even the Supreme Court has said that you cannot force anyone to do anything which is against their religion,” he said.

Haq said this was not the first time that the school had barred the national anthem, Vande Mataram and Saraswati Vandana. He said this has been the practice ever since the school was set up.

“The national anthem has never been sung on the school campus, and cannot be allowed as it is un-Islamic. I run a school and have to abide by the parents,” he said. “The teachers left the job as they had some other issues with the management,” claimed Haq.

However, the principal Ritu Shukla, who joined the school just over a year ago, differed. “The school has 200 Hindu students while the remaining 130 are Muslims. How can he ban the national anthem and Vande Mataram citing religious reasons. I left the school as soon as I heard about this. Seven more teachers also left as this is not acceptable at all,” said Shukla, the principal.

The principal said she was contemplating legal action against the school manager.

Meanwhile, Allahabad District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar said the school, which is till Class VIII, is not recognised. “I am going to take strict action against the school management. We will give them an opportunity to be heard. I am meeting the manager in the evening and will decide the next course of action,” said Kumar.