Bengaluru: In a shocking incident, a 15-year-old Muslim boy, studying in a south Bengaluru school, was punished for not singing the prayer.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, a school adopted a few Sanskrit shlokas as its official prayer for the morning assembly this academic year.
When the school's principal noticed that the boy as well as a few other Muslim students were not singing the prayer, they were punished for it.
"I was humiliated in front of 1,200 students and my constitutional right was violated. She made us go on stage and forced us to sing the prayer in front of everybody. She scolded me in front of everyone on the mike when I mispronounced a few Sanskrit words," said the student.
His mother lodged a complaint with the principal in this regard.
"The principal acted like she didn't understand what the fuss was all about. She kept saying that prayer was important to instil values and discipline in students. She just didn't understand when we tried to explain that we belong to a different faith," the mother told the daily.
The boy now sits in his class while the prayers are on in the assembly.
"But that is not good enough. Why can't they go back to the old prayer which had no religion in it? Fourteen of the 32 students in my class are Muslims. There are people from other religions too. At least 30% of the school is Muslim. Why should I sit separately?" he asked.
The boy said the incident has "hurt his pride".
"I am on the school debate team and was elected as the head boy unanimously. I have studied here since I was in kindergarten. The teachers love me and my classmates respect me. I felt like all that was lost when I refused to sing the prayer that day," he said.
"I feel a little awkward now to discipline other students. They look at me as though I don't have the right anymore. Being the head boy makes me uncomfortable now."