School more like a madrasa, claims mother of kid ‘forced to offer namaz’
The mother a student of Mewat Model School in Madhi village, who applied for a transfer from the school, told Hindustan Times that the family decided to pull the child and his cousin out of the school after getting to know that he was forced to offer namaz five times a day and read Quran.gurgaon Updated: Aug 01, 2017 11:09 IST
Mother a student who applied for transfer from Mewat Model School in Madhi village told Hindustan Times that the family decided to pull out the child and his cousin after getting to know that they were ‘forced to offer namaz’ five times a day and read Quran, among others things.
Pushpa Bhardwaj, the mother of Class 9 student Sagar and aunt of Class 8 student Kaushal Vashisht, said both the boys refused to return to the school hostel in Madhi after their summer vacation ended.
Mewat district administration had on Friday suspended two teachers and transferred the hostel warden after conducting an inquiry into the matter. A group of CID and district officials visited the Mewat Model School in Madhi village and took the statement of the students. They also sealed the computer lab of the school over suspicions of foul play.
Only three out of the 207 students in the school are Hindus and all of them have sought a transfer. There are eight teachers in the school of which three are Hindus.
“Their holidays got over on July 3, but both didn’t go to school till July 13. I forced them to go thinking they didn’t want to study but when the truth came out, I was shocked,” said 40-year-old Bhardwaj, a social worker and a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker, said. “The school was more like a madrasa,” she said. She visited the school on July 22 and submitted a complaint to the principal. The two children were withdrawn from the school hostel the same day.
The third Hindu student, who is in Class 9, also filed a complaint on Saturday and named a teacher. A three-member committee has been formed for further inquiry. The officials, however, did not respond to queries about the inquiry.
A week later, she met Sohna-Tauru BJP MLA Tejpal Tanwar and asked him to look into the matter.
“School is a place where everybody is equal and moral education is given. But what was being given there was religious education,” she told Tanwar. Tanwar assured Bhardwaj that necessary action will be taken and said such instances will not be tolerated.
“I will speak to the CM on this and ensure that such things do not happen again,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents of Madhi village have rubbished allegations that Hindu students were forced to offer namaz and convert to Islam at the school. The villagers said it was an attempt to defame Mewat.
“Our kids study here and we also visit the school. Praying or not praying is solely one’s own wish. Neither the students nor any of the teachers have ever forced anybody to embrace Islam,” said Madhi village sarpanch Yaddin. He added that though the area is Muslim-dominated, nobody has ever forced or even asked a Hindu to pray with them.
Meanwhile, Sagar, 14, said students in the hostel often asked him and Kaushal to offer namaz with them. “They kept asking us to offer namaz and follow Islamic norms. They even asked us to accompany them when they prayed,” Sagar told Hindustan Times. He said the students used to target Kaushal more and even threatened him a few times.
Students staying in the hostel, however, rubbished the allegations. When HT visited the school, students said Kaushal wanted to leave the hostel and wanted a transfer as he used to miss his mother.
“Kaushal told us a lot of times that he wanted to go. He had applied for transfer but since there was no reason on which a transfer could be given, this story was made up,” 15-year-old Junaid, a Class 9 student, said.
Chairperson of Mewat Development Agency Khurshid Ahmed said that he had visited the school recently and nothing of this sort came to light.
“I was myself shocked to know that such allegation were made against teachers and students. I had visited the school only the previous day and nobody told me anything,” he said. “Things will be clear once the report comes out,” he added.
July 22: Two Hindu students complain to school that Muslim students harassed them, forced them to offer namaz and follow Islam and seek school leaving certificate. The same day, their parents withdraw them from the hostel.
July 23: Parents approach Mewat DC for a transfer. For the next four days, officials conduct inquiry.
July 28: Team of officials visits school, records statement of students and seals computer lab. After the visit, two teachers are suspended, one is transferred to Firozpur Jhirka and another inquiry is ordered.
July 29: Villagers barge into school and create ruckus. The third Hindu student also files a complaint with the school principal.