The Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday said it will provide security in all schools and colleges in Aligarh on December 25, after an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the Hindu Jagran Manch – warned institutes against celebrating the festival.

“The warning has not reached schools yet,” Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police RK Pandey told ANI. “We are investigating to check what charges can be filed in this matter. The warning instils fear among children. People are free to celebrate festivals.”

Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anand Kumar directed all district police chiefs to take strict legal action against those indulging in intimidation, ANI reported.

Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said he had no knowledge of the Hindu Jagran Manch’s threat. “The government’s policy is that all religions must be respected,” he said. “People are free to celebrate festivals of any religion. The government will not interfere with it.”

Parents, teachers express concern

“As of now, we have not received any letter [from the Hindu Jagran Manch], but opposition to any festival is unfortunate,” Pravin Agarwal, chairman of the Public School Development Society, told the Hindustan Times.

Anurag Gupta, who is in charge of the parents’ association, said, “Children should not be pushed to fanaticism.”