Kolar: Row after school allows students to offer namaz
A video of the students offering namaz inside the classroom, which was allegedly shot on Friday, surfaced on social media on Sunday.
Kolar district administration has ordered an inquiry into claims that a government school allowed Muslim students to offer prayers inside their classroom last week, the state’s education minister B C Nagesh said on Monday.
The development comes amid an ongoing controversy in the state after a group of students at the government college in Udupi were not allowed to attend classes while wearing a hijab.
The Kolar district collector ordered the probe after a group of Hindu organisations barged into the Mulbagal Someswara Palaya Bale Changappa Government Kannada Model Higher Primary School and also held a protest on Sunday.
A video of the students offering namaz inside the classroom, which was allegedly shot on Friday, surfaced on social media on Sunday. The right-wing activists barged into the school the same day.
Minister Nagesh said action will be taken against the school officials.“The incident in Kolar is too bad. No institution can allow such things. We have asked all concerned officers to visit the school at the earliest. Since the two days after the incident were weekends, a visit to the school was not possible. Now, they will visit the school and give a detailed report on what transpired there. We will take strict action based on the report,” said Nagesh.
Protesters alleged that prayers have been allowed in the school since December last year. A local resident and member of a right-wing group, Ramakrishna, told media that the principal permitted the students without consulting any officials. “She has allowed students to pray inside the school on her own. This is not acceptable. We demand action be taken,” he said.
However, school headmistress, Uma Devi, told media that she was not aware of any prayer meeting in the school. “The students did it themselves. I was not here when this happened. The block education officer called and said this was happening at school and I rushed there,” she said.
There are around 165 students from the Muslim community in the school out of a total strength is 375, according to block education officer Girijeshwari Devi. “There is a mosque right next to the school. There is no issue in them going there for prayers, but there is no provision for allowing a prayer inside,” she said.
A preliminary investigation had found that the students were allowed to pray in class as they were they were found to be skipping classes after going for the Friday prayers, two officials of the education department said. A final report will be given to the district administration, they said, requesting anonymity.
Since early January, eight students in Udupi’s Women’s Government Pre-University College were barred from attending classes for wearing a hijab. One of the girls, Alia Banu, said the college has been seeking leave applications on the ground of ill health. Another student Aliya Assadi said that they were threatened to be pushed out of the classroom if they didn’t remove their headscarves.
“One day, we had gone inside the classroom, but the teacher’s response was, ‘If you don’t go out of class, I will push you out,” she said. Responding to the hijab controversy, minister Nagesh on Thursday alleged that it was politically motivated, keeping elections in mind.
A similar incident was reported in Chikkamangaluru district on January 1.