The circular issued on by the education department of North Delhi Municipal Corporation provided for recital of national anthem, prayers and the Gayatri Mantra in schools.
The Delhi Minorities Commission has issued a notice to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) over a circular issued for the recital of 'Gayatri Mantra' in schools run by its education department.
Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) Zafarul Islam Khan said the notice was recently issued to the education department of NDMC. The department has been asked to explain why the circular was issued.
"Is this not against our secular polity and will this not cause division in the ranks of students and teachers. Many belong to minority communities and they may not like to recite mantras of religious nature," the notice says. In its defence, NDMC has said that such recitation was not mandatory.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation runs 765 primary schools where about 2.2 lakh students are enrolled.
Chairman of Education committee of the BJP-ruled municipal corporation, Ritu Goel said she had no information about the notice issued by the minorities panel on 'Gayatri Mantra' but added its recital was not mandatory. "We have already clarified it's not mandatory in our schools," she said.
Ms Goel said the circular issued by the education department was not a standalone direction for recital of 'Gayatri Mantra' and contained general directions to ensure personal hygiene and wellbeing of students.
The circular issued on September 6 by education department provided for recital of national anthem, prayers and the Gayatri Mantra in schools.