The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has found two illegally constructed ‘mazaars’ built on government land inside a school premises in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district and has recommended that “the unlawful structures are removed from the premises”.
The NCPCR has surveyed the CM Rise School of Kurwai in Vidisha district after taking suo-moto cognizance of a report about presence of mazaar-like structure in the school.
The NCPCR Chairperson chairperson Priyank Kanoongo visited the school to conduct an inquiry in the matter. After his visit, the child rights body said that there were two mazaars constructed in the premises of CM Rise School.
“The first Mazaar like-structure was located in the backside area of the school and it was built by former councillor, Munne Khan Hussaini. It was found out that on the said platform, no person comes to do any kind of religious ritual. Further, it was told by the teachers that sometimes, the former councillor comes on the said platform,” the NCPCR in a statement.
It was also observed during the visit that there was no boundary wall against the said mazaar and was open to the public for visit. The open access to the mazaar inside the school premises was observed to “pose a threat to the safety of children in the school”.
The NCPCR has instructed the Sub-Divisional Police Officer to take action, thereby prohibiting the entry of Munne Khan and others in the school premises.
The second mazaar was recently constructed in February 2022 by Banne Khan, the husband of then Principal In-charge, Shahina Firdaus. The child rights body observed that no information of any kind was provided to the SDM, Kurwai by the School management regarding the construction of the said platform till date.
“It was informed to the Chairperson during the visit by the teachers and the students that the National Anthem and other patriotic songs were not sung in the school till the time Shahina Firdaus was the principal. Previously, they used to sing the Madhya Pradesh Anthem and ‘Ae Maalik Tere Bande Hum’. The National Anthem was used to be sung only on the Independence Day and Republic Day during her tenure.
The NCPCR said that during the interaction with the teachers and the students, it was also observed that the Muslim boys in the school were permitted to leave at 1 p.m. on every Friday for Namaaz, during the school hours.
Further, also during Shahina Firdaus’s tenure as principal, a room dedicated for the principal was used for Namaaz prayers and even some teachers used to go for Namaaz in that room.
The NCPCR in its recommendation has said that an order be issued putting a halt to the practice of allowing the children to leave the school premises for offering Namaaz during school hours. “A monthly status report of the functioning of the school and welfare of the children may be shared with the commission for the next three months,” it said.
The commission has recommended that the state govemment may pass order mandating the schools in the state to sing National Anthem as a part of the morning prayers.
The NCPCR further said that “since no action was taken by the concerned DEO, it is recommended that the inquiry to be conducted in schools institutions in relation to the construction of mazaars is handed over to some other appropriate officer and the current DEO may be removed from his duties till the removal of all the mazaars from the schools”.
The commission has also recommended to lodge an FIR against Shahina Firdaus (former principal) and her husband Banne Khan for encroachment on government land of school and constructing the unauthorised structures therein.