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Meat row divides Doon school

Examples are being cited to point out that educational institutions are sensitive to the religious beliefs of students.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 02:32 IST

The recent controversy over whether to serve halal or jhatka meat in the dining halls of Doon School was just the beginning.

If headmaster Kanti Bajpai's note to Bhavdeep Sardana, the representative of the Uttaranchal school's Punjab chapter, is any indication, there are several requests that threaten to divide the school on communal lines.

With vegetarians demanding separate seating arrangements and food without onion, Bajpai has warned that the school's status will be in tatters if the status quo is not maintained. Bajpai wrote, "Muslim and Hindu boys want to wear religious ornamentation and some want to keep beards.... The school has not allowed this historically but there are those who claim that since Sikh boys can wear a turban or a kada, why can't they wear tika, beards and other religious signs?"

Even as Bajpai "fears chaos", some parents are enraged at what they call his condescending attitude. "Concession to wear turban, kada and grow beards?" asked Gurpreet Singh. Singh, who had brought up the issue of halal meat, is contemplating legal action, if the school does not relent.

Examples are being cited to point out that educational institutions are sensitive to the religious beliefs of students. In the UK, after a Sikh federation objected, primary schools identify dishes as halal and jhatka.

In Ajmer's Mayo College it is just jhatka meat. Principal Pramod Sharma said, "Schools should either serve both kinds of meat or inform parents what they are serving." Perhaps, Doon can chew it over.

First Published: May 25, 2006 02:32 IST