Srinagar, Nov 16 (UNI) Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today came down heavily on the Jammu and Kashmir government for ''forcing'' the school children to sing 'Vande Mataram' at a function here on November 14, saying it amounted to ''interference'' in one's religious affairs.
Addressing a Friday congregation at the historic Jamia Masjid here, the Mirwaiz appealed to the parents to stop their wards from attending the government functions where they (the children) were ''forced'' to recite the national song 'Vande Mataram'.
The chief priest of Kashmir said the recitation of 'Vande Mataram' at an official ceremony amounted to ''invasion and interference'' in the religious affairs of the people.
''It is time to stand up and foil the conspiracies hatched by the Indian authorities to spoil the religious beliefs of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,'' he added.
This was for the first time in the Kashmir valley that the school children were asked to sing 'Vande Mataram' that depicts the nation as the Hindu Goddess Durga.
Thousands and hundreds of children drawn from different schools in the Kashmir valley sang 'Vande Mataram' during the Children's Day function on the 118th birth anniversary of India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) here on Wednesday.
The moderate Hurriyat Chairman also attacked the authorities for the alleged human rights violations in Sopore, Dooru, Pulwama, Shalimar, Kupwara and Bandipora last week.
''India would not be able to hide the ground realities through the use of brute force. India should resort to peaceful parleys for resolution of the contentious Kashmir issue,'' he added.
Meanwhile, the Jamaat-e-Islami also condemned the state government move and appealed to the people to give top priority to the religious education of their children.
''The parents should ensure that their children are able to defend their religious beliefs against all onslaughts,'' it added.