Uttarakhand Education Minister Dhan Singh Rawat has sparked a controversy by saying that whoever wants to live in Uttarakhand has to sing Vande Mataram.

While addressing college students in Roorkee, Rawat, said “Uttarakhand mein rehna hai, toh Vande Mataram kehna hoga (If you want to stay in Uttarakhand, you have to sing Vande Mataram).''

He also said that the songs should be sung at colleges at specific timings. He mandated that the national anthem should be sung at 10 in the morning and the national song should be recited at 4 in the evening.

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However, Rawat is now blaming the media for using his speech out of context. He told CNN-News18:

“The media has taken my speech out of context. The media is not playing my full speech. We are taking advice from various people. From the next session, we will make singing Vande Mataram compulsory in our colleges and schools. Everyone should sing Vande Mataram. In our state, no one is opposing Vande Mataram.”

He also told ANI:

“I believe that my statement was not understood properly. I said that there should be Vande Mataram and national anthem in all education institutes."

He added, “We are thinking of having Vande Mataram and national anthem from next session in colleges. No education institutes have any problem. Singing Vande matram is not a crime. We are not an enemy of any religion. Nobody should have problem with Vande Mataram."

Earlier, Rawat had made hoisting of the national flag compulsory in universities across the state.