A headmaster in Odisha was suspended on Monday for closing his school for a day following rumours about the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is unwell but very much alive in his Delhi home.
Kamalakanta Das, the headmaster of a primary school in Balasore district, rang up a teacher on Friday and asked him to hold a condolence meeting and close the school for the day after he heard at a training workshop that 90-year-old Vajpayee was no more.
Accordingly, the junior teachers and students assembled for a meeting and floral tributes were paid to the former Prime Minister.
Das later regretted his faux pas and said he got the “news” about Vajpayee’s death from a fellow teacher at a training programme in another school.
Balasore district collector Sanatan Mallick ordered an inquiry after the incident came to his notice a day later. “This is very unfortunate that a headmaster has acted in such an irresponsible manner without crosschecking facts. He has been suspended,” he said.
A similar incident happened in Jharkhand some time ago when the state’s education minister paid floral tributes to former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who was alive then but recuperating in hospital following an illness.
Three-time Prime Minister Vajpayee, who was recently conferred with the Bharat Ratna, has not been in the public eye for the past several years because of failing health.