The Maharashtra School Education Minister has declared that the school children across Maharashtra will have to compulsorily recite the preamble of the Constitution during their morning assemblies from January 26.
A state government circular held that reading of the preamble is part of the “sovereignty of Constitution, welfare of all” campaign and will be implemented from Republic Day. A government resolution in this regard was issued in February 2013 when the Congress-NCP government was in power. As per the circular dated January 21, 2020, it was not implemented then.
“Students will recite the preamble of the Constitution every day after morning prayers so that they understand its importance. It is a resolution of an old government but we will implement from January 26,” the minister who belongs to the Congress told the media.
The move to make students read out the preamble of the Constitution comes at a time when large scale protests are being held against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as well as the National Register of Citizens. The Congress is one of the constituents in the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government along with the NCP. Many Congress leaders have said that the “unconstitutional” law will not be allowed in Maharashtra.
Incidentally, people protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act have taken to reading the preamble at the time of demonstrations to highlight how it terms the country as secular while speaking out against discrimination. Bhim Army chief, Chandrashekhar Azad who has been released on bail after spending over a month in prison even claimed that he was arrested in January for no reason other than reading out the preamble.
For the first time, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution before 2015. Critics say that it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the Constitution.