The principal of a government school in Karnataka’s Gadag district was heckled by members of Hindutva outfit Sri Rama Sene on Tuesday after he organised an essay competition on Prophet Muhammad, reported The Indian Express.

The organisation demanded that Abdul Munafar Bijapur, the principal of the Government High School in Nagavi village, resign from his post and accused him of converting students’ religions.

“It was an effort to spread Islam among young minds,” a Sri Rama Sene leader told The Times of India. “Though there is no lesson of the Prophet in the school syllabus and there is no order to conduct such essay competition, the headmaster intended to conduct the competition on Paigambar [Prophet].”

The Hindutva organisation members told him to show a government order asking to organise the event.

Some villagers intervened and told the protestors that outsiders do not need to enter the school and that they will handle the matter.

School Development and Monitoring Committee President Jayashri Muttinapendimath said she did not even know that Bijapur was Muslim.

“He never exhibited his caste and creed but has been working honestly and peacefully for three years,” she said. “He has been conducting various competitions on all birth anniversaries of great souls.”

Raju Khanappanavar, a member of the Sri Rama Sene, told The Indian Express that the outfit leaders had questioned the principal as the essay competition was only on Prophet Muhammed.

“The headmaster claims that some person came to the school and offered Rs 5,000 for the winner and he agreed to allow,” he said. “As a teacher, he should not allow promotion of any one religion. He is in a way putting other communities in bad light by promoting Islam among young minds.”

Bijapur said that the prize for the competition was sponsored.

“In order to improve handwriting among students, we organised an essay competition based on a book,” he said.

The principal said that he has never been involved in any effort to spread any religion and has been sensitising students about figures from all faiths.

“Let the government conduct an inquiry,” he said. “I am ready to face any punishment, if I am found guilty.”

GM Basavalingappa, the deputy director of public instruction of Gadag, said that he has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

“There were no government circulars to conduct such competitions and he had handed over books to students to take to their homes,” the official said.

He added, “Around 43 students took part in the competition. The headmaster defended stating that they celebrated Valmiki Jayanti, Kanaka Jayanti and other events too. However, there were government orders to conduct them but in this case, there was no such direction.”

The police said no complaint has been filed in the matter.