Video of Bakrid celebration in Karnataka school viral with false communal spin

By: Rajini KG
September 15 2023

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Video of Bakrid celebration in Karnataka school viral with false communal spin

Video shows Bakrid celebration in a school in Karnataka. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The Karnataka government has not issued any order to make reciting Quran verses compulsory in schools.

Claim ID cfd02f33

What is the claim?

Several social media users are sharing a clip of students enacting a skit and reciting verses from the Quran to claim that the government in the Indian state of Karnataka has made it compulsory for schools to impart teachings of Islam. 

The video shows a student discussing the meaning of Eid ul-Adha, also known as Bakrid, and other students performing a skit. Other children sit in a hallway with their hands folded as religious verses are chanted. The school principal then addresses the students. 

Sharing the video on X, one user wrote, "Karnataka's Congress government has made teaching of Quran mandatory in all schools ‍* *free free* *Hindus voted against BJP because of free tickets and 200 units of free electricity* (sic)." The post (archived here), originally written in Hindi, had garnered over 13,000 views at the time of publishing. Archives of other similar claims can be seen here, here, here, and here.

The video is being shared with communal undertones and many have also accused the ruling Congress government in Karnataka of being biased towards Muslims.

Screenshots of viral claims. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is false. 

  • Firstly, the video is from Jnanasagara International Public School in Hassan district in Karnataka and shows students celebrating Bakrid. 

  • Secondly, the school celebrates festivals of all faiths, and we found several older photos on their Facebook page showing the same.

  • Finally, no official order by the Karnataka government asks schools to teach the Quran.

What we found

Around the 0:25 timestamp, we spotted the text "Jnanasagara" on a banner seen in the viral clip. This cue helped us to find that the skit in question was performed in Jnanasagara International Public School in Hassan district of Karnataka. 

The school's name is visible on a banner seen in the viral clip. (Source: X/Screenshot)

A TV9 Kannada news report published on July 1 stated that after the video of students reciting Quran verses went viral, members of a right-wing Hindu organization had protested outside the school on June 30. Following the protests, the school administration issued a clarification to the media that only three children from the Muslim community recited the verses, and other children had just closed their eyes and folded their hands. 

Speaking to Logically Facts, Suja Philip, principal of the school, said, "We conduct many awareness programs in school; this (the skit) was also part of it. The students from the Muslim community took part in the skit and recited the Quran, not other students." The principal confirmed that the video was taken at the school and said the skit was enacted on June 30 to celebrate Bakrid. She added, "We celebrate other religious festivals also." 

Other religious festivals celebrated 

We combed through the school's official Facebook page and found a post from September 6 that showed Krishna Janmashtami (a Hindu festival) celebrations in the school. Students had dressed as Hindu deities Krishna and Radha. We also came across photos of Janmashthami celebrations from September 2019.

Krishna Janmashtami was celebrated at Jnanasagara International Public School in 2023 and 2019. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

On January 16, the school had also celebrated Makar Sankranti, another Hindu festival. The school's 'About Us' page on its official website also had a picture of students wearing Yakshagana costumes. Yakshagana is a traditional folk dance popular in coastal Karnataka. 

Jnanasagara International Public School celebrated Makar Sankranti on January 16.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshots)

We also found photos of Christmas celebrations from December 2021 on the page.

Photos of Christmas celebration at Jnanasagara International Public School.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshots)

Speaking to News 18, Kannada, Manjunath, a parent of one of the students at the school, had said, "The school celebrates all the events like Environment Day, Mothers Day, etc. and they celebrated this festival(Bakrid) as well to give knowledge about it." He adds that parents could have objected if the school had celebrated only this festival (Bakrid), but the school celebrates all festivals and special occasions.

What about the Quran mandate?

Philip told Logically Facts that she was not aware of any order mandating the teaching of the Quran in schools and that she had not received such instructions.

Additionally, Logically Facts found no government order on asking schools or any educational institute to impart teachings of the Quran. There are no credible news reports on the same as well. Two officials from the education department of the Karnataka government, who wished to remain anonymous, also told us that the state government or the department had not issued such an order so far. 

The verdict

A video of Bakrid celebrations at a private school in the Hassan district of Karnataka has been shared with a false claim that the government has made the recital of the Quran compulsory in all schools in Karnataka. The school celebrates all religious festivals, and the Karnataka government has not issued any order to make Quran recitals mandatory.

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