Student who avoided church rally barred from schoolJuly 13th, 2008 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS
Kozhikode, July 12 (IANS) A student was disallowed from attending classes at a church-run school in Kerala after he reportedly refused to participate in a protest rally organised by the local parish against a controversial textbook, his father said. The incident was reported from St. Mary’s High School at Kakkadampoil around 50 km from here.
Various religious and political organisations including the Catholic Church have been opposing the Class 7 text book introduced by the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led government alleging that it propagates atheism and the communist ideology.
The school authorities say that they took the action against the student after the parish priest, who is also the manager of the school, complained that the boy, George Philip, threatened him and locked him inside a room.
School principal Jose Mathoth confirmed that the priest had made a complaint to him.
Philip, a class X student, however, denied that he threatened the priest or locked him inside the room.
“Last Saturday (July 5) when I met the parish priest at his residence, he asked whether I would attend the rally next day. I said I wouldn’t. We had an altercation over the issue and he asked me to leave the room and banged the door,” Philip said.
He said that the door got jammed and the priest could not open the door.
On Monday, school authorities asked Philip to bring his parents to the school and then only would he be allowed to attend his classes.
Unnanal Philip, Philip’s father, said: “On Tuesday I went to the school. I told the principal that I was ready to make any amends for any wrong my son had committed. The principal was adamant that George would be allowed in the class only after he met the priest, who in fact, had gone on a journey.”
Unnanal said he contacted the principal Wednesday and Thursday to seek permission for his son to attend his classes, but did not get a favourable reply. After that, he complained to the state Human Rights Commission and the district education authorities.
“Officials at the education office called the school authorities over phone in my presence and asked them to admit my son,” he said.
The principal, however told IANS, that he did not bar the student from the school. “I had asked the parent to come with his son to the school only Wednesday, after the parent teacher association had taken a decision on the issue. But he did not turn up on the appointed day.”
Philip could not attend the class for four days. “He is depressed. People in the village taunt him on the issue,” said Kunjoojamma, Philip’s mother.
The principal said he is ready to admit the student if the parent comes along with him July 14. However, the priest could not be contacted to obtain his version of the incident.