Meerut (Utter Pradesh) [India], Mar. 30 (ANI): Following the Vande Mataram row that took place earlier this week, Samajwadi Party (SP) corporator Afzal on Thursday asserted that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporators and mayor forced them to sing the song.
"We respect Vande Mataram, but BJP corporators and mayor were literally forcing us to sing. The Supreme Court has also said that it is not mandatory," Afzal told ANI.
Earlier this week, seven corporators of the Meerut Municipal Corporation, all belonging to the Muslim community, were allegedly barred from participating in Nagar Nigam proceedings after they refused to sing 'Vande Mataram' before the start of the day's business.
When they returned, the Mayor allegedly refused to let them in.
Following this, Meerut Mayor Harikant Ahluwalia issued orders that every Nagar Nigam board member will sing 'Vande Mataram' or he will not be allowed to enter the board meeting room or participate in its proceedings.
Some of other board members started shouting, "Hindustan mein rehna hai to Vande Mataram kehna hai (If you have to live in India, you will have to say Vande Mataram)."
The seven corporators protested when the mayor informed them of the decision for not allowing entry to anybody who refuses to sing the national song.
One of the corporators who refused to sing "Vande Mataram" later said that singing the national song should be optional and not mandatory. (ANI)