Activists of Student Organisation of India (SOI), the student wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal, allegedly created a ruckus at DAV Public School, BRS Nagar, here on Saturday, forcing principal JK Sidhu to close the school for the winter break.
The SOI activists surrounded the school from all sides in the morning and raised slogans, calling upon authorities to close the school for the winter break in keeping with the orders of the state government.
The Punjab government two days ago had ordered the closure of schools for the winter break from December 25 to January 3. The activists reached outside the school around 7.15 and continued with the protest for an hour. Keeping in view the safety of students, the principal was left with no option but to give into the demand. The activists left soon after the school was closed.
As a result, a large number of students who use own transport faced harassment as their parents had to be called to pick them up before time. “My grandchild who is in Class 4 had to wait for two hours as I was away and it took me time to reach the school. Such actions should be dealt with strictly,” rued Harnam Singh.
Students of Class 12 could not take their pre-board exams and the school will have to reschedule them. Sidhu claimed that the pre-board exams of Classes 11 (English) and 12 (optional subject) were not conducted following the “hooliganism” created by the SOI. School authorities will have to reschedule the exams after the vacations.
“I closed the school not under pressure from the SOI but keeping the safety of students in mind as school buses were not allowed to get inside the school. To avoid any unpleasant scene in front of students, especially to avoid any harm to them, I decided to give in,” said Sidhu.
Meanwhile, Sidhu has written to the district education officer, secondary and elementary; deputy commissioner; police commissioner; station superintendent of Sarabha Nagar; president, Private Unaided Schools Association, Punjab; and director, Ludhiana Sahodhya School Complex; about the incident.
Sidhu claimed that the school had not received any letter from the education department about the winter break declared by the government. Sidhu said, “More than a dozen private schools are functioning, but why did the SOI target only our school?”
District education officer Paramjit Kaur Chahal said the state government had declared the winter break, but the SOI action was inappropriate as they did not consult the education department.
SOI Ludhiana president Meetpal Dugri said, “Despite the government order, many schools are still functioning. Our protest in front of the school was peaceful.”
January ideal for break
In winter, temperature dips further in January and there are foggy days. Keeping this in mind, the winter break should ideally begin at the start of January. The district administration had extended the winter break in January this year because of cold and foggy days.