Two Mewat school teachers go on leave, students left in the lurch
On Thursday, a three-member committee set up to probe the alleged forced conversion, met the studentsgurgaon Updated: Aug 03, 2017 23:12 IST
After a scuffle broke out on Tuesday at the Mewat Model School at Madhi during which a group of 8-10 men allegedly threatened Santram, the Arts teacher, the latter along with the principal have gone on leave, leaving students in the lurch. The school is now left with only three teachers for 207 students.
With a faculty strength of 8, the school was already grappling with staff shortage. Three of them, also taught at Nagina school and visited the Madhi school only once in three days.
On Thursday, the three-member committee set up to probe the alleged conversion of some students to Islam, visited the school along with the CID and police officers and interacted with the students over the conduct of teachers at the school. The three teachers who faced action for allegedly to trying to force Hindu students ‘to offer namaz and embrace Islam’ responded to the summonses issued to them on Wednesday and appeared before the panel.
Following the suspension of two teachers and the transfer of one on Friday in connection with the alleged forced conversion row, the faculty strength of the school, which also doubles up as a hostel, was reduced to five.
A source said that Tuesday’s scuffle seems to have instilled a sense of fear and insecurity among the remaining teachers and the same, perhaps, explains why two of them went on leave.
Santram claimed his family, including his five-year-old son, is very scared since the fracas on Tuesday.
“Even on Saturday, a group of villagers barged into the school. On Tuesday, they threatened me and even slapped me,” Santram said.
The alleged forced conversion row hit the headlines on July 22 after two of the three Hindu students in the school sought their school leaving certificates claiming that some Muslim students forced them to offer namaz and embrace Islam. The school authorities informed the Mewat Development Agency (which runs the school) about the complaint, who then forwarded it to the district commissioner (DC), who is also the vice-chairman and CEO of the MDA.
The DC then suspended two teachers and transferred one on Friday and formed a three-member committee to probe the matter.
On July 28, a third Hindu student who studies in class 9, told officials who had come to inspect the school that he, too, had been forced to covert.
Santram said he asked the student to give a complaint in writing. He said in the light of Tuesday’s scuffle and the alleged threats that he has been facing, he was considering “quitting his job.”
Navin Shakti, the principal-in-charge of the school, has also been on a medical leave since Tuesday.
When HT tried to contact Shakti, her husband picked the phone saying she was very disturbed and “not fit to go to school.” He couldn’t say when she would join.
Sushil Dutt, the new warden of the hostel who took charge on Saturday, said that since the last two days, only three teachers have been reporting for duty.
“Me, long with the Maths and Hindi teachers, are the only ones taking classes,” Dutt said.
Yaddin, sarpanch of Madhi village, said he wasn’t aware of any scuffle at the school on Tuesday. “No such incident (forced religious conversion) took place at the school. This is just an attempt to malign our community and Mewat,” 50-year-old said earlier.
Khurshid Ahmed, chairperson of the MDA, agreed that the students were suffering for want of adequate faculty and facilities and was also drawing unwanted attention in the light of alleged conversion row.
“The alleged incident has impacted their studies. We are trying our best to recruit more teachers and put the focus back on studies. By the next month, we will have 48 new teachers across seven schools run by MDA,” Ahmed said.
While two Hindu students have stopped attending the school since July 22, the third one, who is also a day scholar, is still enrolled in the school and has been regularly attending classes.
July 22: Two Hindu students of Mewat Model School claimed they were forced to offer namaz and embrace Islam
July 22: School authorities send the compliant to MDA, which forwards it to the district commissioner
July 28: DC office sends officials to the school, suspends two teachers and transfers one
July 28: Another Hindu student claims to have been forced to convert to Islam
July 29: Villagers barge into school, create ruckus
Aug 1: Villagers visit school, allegedly threaten one teacher and accuse him of conspiracy
Aug 1: Santram, the arts teacher and a principal go on indefinite leave after a scuffle in school on Tuesday