Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday questioned why some schools in a Jharkhand district had changed their weekly holiday from Sunday to Friday, and claimed that the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha wanted to start a “fight with Christians”.

In July 2022, reports had emerged that 43 schools in Muslim-dominated parts of Jharkhand’s Jamtara district had unilaterally changed their weekly holiday from Sunday to Friday.

Friday is considered the holiest day of the week in Islam. Many Muslim-majority countries observe a weekly holiday on Friday.

In response to criticism, the state government had dissolved the management committees of the schools and restored Sunday as the weekly break, according to The Times of India.

Jamtara will head to the polls in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Saturday. The district is part of the Dumka Lok Sabha constituency where Modi’s rally was held.

“In our country, there is a holiday on Sunday,” Modi said on Tuesday. “When the British used to rule here – as Christians have a holiday on Sunday – this tradition began.”

He added: “Sunday is not associated with Hindus, but with Christians. This [practice] has been going on here for the past 200 to 300 years. But in one district, they put a lock on the Sunday break and said that the holiday will be on Fridays. First, there was a fight with Hindus, and now, there is a fight with Christians too – what is going on?”

Apart from Dumka, the other Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand that will head to the polls on Saturday are Rajmahal and Godda. Elections were held in four constituencies of the state on May 13, three on May 20 and four on May 25.