High drama prevailed at a Bengaluru school in Karnataka on Saturday as parents of Muslim students alleged bias engaging in a heated debate with the Principal. The school management dismissed one teacher Shashikala for creating unnecessary problems.
The incident took place at the Vidyasagar English School situated in Chandra Layout locality of Bengaluru. The parents who gathered in large numbers alleged that their wards have been insulted by a lady Mathematics teacher Shashikala who has spoken ill about their religion, hijab, and other religious practices. They demanded immediate action against the teacher and questioned the Principal.
The jurisdictional police and education department officials rushed to the spot and spoke to the teacher, students and their parents. The agitated parents have been pacified for now but a tense situation still prevails.
Sohabuddin, a parent, explained that this is not a fight for hijab. “All children studying in seventh grade are complaining about the teacher giving differential treatment on the basis of their religion. The children told the lady teacher that Muslims are only 25 per cent of the population in India, they can’t wear hijab anymore in class. We have come here to question and demand action on this teacher. This is not an agitation for hijab,” he said.
Sohabuddin further said, “the teacher wrote some initials on the blackboard and made derogatory remark about our children. This is an old school and the majority of students are Muslims. Our children are getting a good education in school. This one particular teacher is causing problems.”
“We know about the court ruling about hijab. We don’t want to violate it. The grown up girl students who are supposed to wear hijab are at home waiting for the final court order which will come on Monday. We are confident that the court will permit the wearing of hijab,” he stated.
The Principal of the School Shivakumar said, the Mathematics teacher has told the students about the court order on hijab and that they should not miss out on education. She has asked them not to talk in the class. She wrote the first letter of the children’s name on the blackboard –‘KLS’. The students mistakenly took this for something else. “Though 90 per cent of students are Muslims, there has been no issue for the last 15 years. The teacher should have spoken only about Mathematics, the subject which she teaches. The students are still coming in hijab and we are not objecting to it,” he explained.
Bengaluru South Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) Bylanjanappa said, “I visited the school and spoke to the concerned teacher. She is saying that nothing but the syllabus has been taught to the children. No court order has been discussed. The teacher was teaching a lesson. The parents have misunderstood their kids’ words and that resulted in confusion.”
Bylanjanappa further said he also spoke to students. The teacher has not abused any student. The students can come to the premises however they want but they have to attend classes only in uniform, he said.