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Assam govt goes soft on Vande Mataram
K Anurag in Guwahati | September 03, 2006 18:12 IST
Under mounting opposition from a section of religious minority leaders, the Assam government has softened its order issued to state educational institutions to facilitate singing of Vande Mataram at 11 am on September 7 to mark the centenary of the anthem after instruction from the Union HRD ministry.
The state government on Saturday issued a statement clarifying that its directive issued to educational institutions on September 1 was not aimed at making singing of Vande Mataram mandatory as reported in the media.
These two separate statements hitherto issued by Assam government spokesman and Education Minister Ripun Bora about the state government directive on Vande Mataram has led to confusion.
Assam government had issued a press statement (No 696) on September 1 wherein it was stated that it had taken a decision to ensure singing of Vande Mataram in all educational institutions to mark the centenary of the anthem.
As per the government statement, the education department had issued a directive to all educational institutions to facilitate singing of first two stanzas of the song at 11 am on September 7.
The government directive evoked sharp reactions from leaders of the religious minority organisations who expressed their strong opposition to the government bid to make singing of Vande Mataram stating that it might hurt sentiments of Muslim students.
Coming under pressure in view of the strong opposition from a section of Muslim leaders, Assam government issued another press statement (No 698) on Saturday evening stating that its directive had only called upon educational institutions in the state to facilitate singing of Vande Mataram as per the programme worked out by the central government.
The government clarified that it didn't make it mandatory for the institutions to ensure singing of the anthem.