The Uttar Pradesh education department has ordered an inquiry and issued a show cause notice to an Aligarh school for allegedly portraying controversial preacher Zakir Naik as, “An important Islamic personality” in a book published by them.
The textbook, ‘Ilm-un-Nafe’ is, incidentally, not a part of the syllabus of Islamic Mission School in Masud Nagar of Aligarh. The school is recognised by the government.
Basic Siksha Adhikari (BSA) of Aligarh, Dhirendra Kumar Yadav confirmed that a show cause notice had been issued and a three-member inquiry committee had been set up to inquire into the matter.
“The committee has been given a week’s time to submit its report. The process of cancelling the recognition of the school will be initiated after receiving the report,” said the BSA.
“The school, which has students from class I to VIII, is recognised by the state government. The medium of instruction is English. The school published this book on its own,” Yadav added.
Talking to the media, Kaunain Kausar, manager of the school, who compiled the controversial book, said the allegations being levelled against them were baseless. “There is no separate chapter on Zakir Naik in the book. This general awareness book was published in 2015, when there was nothing against Naik. This was the old edition and now it has been modified,” he claimed.
Kausar explained that there were many pictures of important Islamic scholars on page 20 of the book. “Students of classes II and III are to identify them and write down their names. We are not teaching the children anything about Naik,” he added.
Mohd Sohail, spokesperson of the school said, “Some anti-social elements are trying to tarnish the school’s image by making this non-issue an issue.”
Naik, 51, who is currently abroad, fled India on July 1, 2016, after terrorists in neighbouring Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches.