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National anthem row takes new turn

National anthem row takes new turn

Author: K S Dakshina Murthy
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: November 29, 2001

The controversy over the refusal of three students to sing the national anthem at a school in Madikeri, Karnataka, has taken a new turn. They refused to accept a show-cause notice from the school authorities.

The local Bajrang Dal and BJP Krishi Morcha have organised a rally on November 30 to protest the refusal of the students to sing the anthem. They have threatened to go on a hunger strike from December 3 if the three students are not expelled.

The management of Blossom High School, Madikeri, issued a notice to the students last week giving them three days time to explain why they refused to sing the national anthem.

School secretary H.M. Annappa told the Hindustan Times that one more attempt would be made to serve the notice, failing which it would be pasted on the doors of their houses.

Jitin, Nitin and Raja, studying in the 8th, 9th and 10th standards, refused to sing the anthem saying they belong to Jehovah Witnesses, a worldwide sect that shuns religion, politics and nationalism and believes only in the Almighty's supremacy.

Parents of the three students completely supported their stance provoking the English-medium school to issue a show-cause notice. Pending a 'satisfactory' reply, the students have been suspended.

The district administration and the State government have expressed inability to intervene as no one is clear what action should be taken against the 'errant' students.

Last week, the Supreme Court's Constitution Bench refused to give an opinion on whether singing of the anthem should be made mandatory.

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