Viral posts claim that Muslims in Kerala are demanding a ban on chanting OM, a sacred sound and a spiritual symbol in the Hindu religion, as it is against Islam. The posts are being shared to depict that as Kerala has a good number of Muslims in the state so, they are trying to oppress Hindus. In one viral post, netizens are sharing a screengrab of a Times Now video with the ticker, "Now, Islamists' Oppose 'Om' #OMNotAllowed".
This screengrab is being shared with a caption, "Muslims demand to ban Hindu holy 'Omkaram; in Kerala.. 'Omkaram should not be heard in Kerala as it is against Islam... It is against our religious beliefs... Now their population has crossed 40% unofficially... Their original masks have been revealed... Hindavam is in the edge of danger in Kerala... Still secularism.. believing that all religions are equal Shall we deceive ourselves?? Shall we protect our Dharma and our country??".
This post is viral on Facebook.
#Secular politics is pushing #Hindus to margins!!
Muslim bodies demand ban on "Omkar" chanting 🤔Posted by Mohammed Aajakia on Friday, 19 February 2021
The Logical Indian received the image for verification on its Whatsapp number +91 63640 00343.
Kerala Muslims are demanding a ban on chanting Om.
The Logical Indian searched with the keyword, 'Kerala Muslims demand a ban on chanting Om', and found an article published by Times Now on February 17, 2020. The article also had a video embedded in it, the viral screengrab resembles a part taken from the video.
Screenshot of Times Now video
The Times Now article said that two teachers from a government school in Azhikode village, Kannur district, were sent on leave for distributing a Mathematics pamphlet with religious symbols among students in Kerala. According to the article, two teachers distributed Om insignia and pictures of goddess Saraswati and Lord Ayyappa to the students of class 5th to 7th as a part of the activities of the Mathematics Club. This led to a protest by parents and hence the teachers were sent on leave.
The News Minute based on sources from the educational department reported that two teachers of 'Azhikode government Upper Primary school' were asked to go on leave by the headmaster. These teachers had distributed a brochure with a "Maths Prayer" and pictures of goddess Saraswathi and "Om" on it. They distributed '12 line "Maths Prayer" (Ganitha Prarthana) and instructed them to chant the prayers daily, claiming that it would help them in learning mathematics. These teachers' action led to a vociferous protest by parents and some political parties, due to which they were asked to go on leave.
The News Minute also quoted Assistant Educational Officer (AEO), Raj Kumar, who visited the school after the matter. He said, "This is a public school. The allegation is that the teachers used religious symbols, which is against the rules. We need to protect the school. We want the support of everyone for the school. There was carelessness on the part of two teachers."
According to ANI, the headmistress of the school later said that the matter was resolved. ANI quoted Pushpakumari, the headmistress of Azhikode government school, who said, "As part of improving public education various workshops on Science, communicative English and Mathematics were conducted in school. In one such workshop, the person who took a class on Math gave away printed pamphlets to students. Two teachers who were in charge failed to see that it contained religious symbols... A prayer written by one of the teachers was also included in the booklet."
The ANI report also quoted a senior official from the education department, who said, "There were efforts from certain parties to give it a communal agenda and spark religious tension. But the locals and the Parents' Teachers Association did not allow them to take matters into their hands. The AEO discussed with all those involved and amicably settled the issue. Both teachers have requested a transfer as they are hesitant to continue in the same school."
The Logical Indian contacted Sanakan Deo, District Education Officer of Kannur, who said that it was wrong on teachers' end as in public school no such courses can be introduced without the government's authority. On being asked if there are any rules, he said, "Yes, there is a policy that no religious symbols should be shown in schools."
Hence, the old news of February 2020 has resurfaced again with the fake claim that Muslims in Kerala seek a ban on chanting of OM.
If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at 6364000343.
Also Read: Fact Check: List Of Under-19 Boys Kerala Tennis Ball Cricket Team Shared With Communal Spin