Only 17 schools were closed in Bangalore on the second day of the weeklong strike

Unmindful of the poor response to its bandh call, the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA) has refused to call off the weeklong closure of schools. The bandh enters its third day on Wednesday.

According to government sources, the number of KUSMA schools that did not function in Bangalore on Tuesday — Day 2 of the bandh — was only 17 (11 in the north and six in the south). This is a drastic fall from Monday’s 60. However, KUSMA office-bearers claimed the response was better than Monday.

Posers to government

The association has released two press statements on Tuesday — one clarifying that it is not against any religion or the Right to Education (RTE) Act; the second one challenging the State government to answer its queries publicly. Most of the 11 questions KUSMA has raised pertain to the definition of linguistic and religious minorities, and the determining of the certification agency for these.

Protests against KUSMA

Meanwhile, protests continued to erupt against KUSMA. The Karnataka Parents’ Awareness Forum held a protest by making children whose schools are closed as part of the protest play cricket and marbles at the spot. “All play and no school makes our children dull,” said Laxmi H.J., the parent of two children of a school which is a KUSMA member.

“If the school remains closed for a week, the students will be the ultimate sufferers. Let KUSMA and the government decide whatever is convenient for them, but not at the cost of our children’s future,” Vinod D. from Ramanagaram added.

Under flak

The Samajika Parivarthana Janandolana, in a press release, termed the strike a “blackmail tactic” and demanded derecognition of those schools that participated in the bandh.

Mahalakshmi Layout MLA N.L. Narendra Babu, in a press statement, described the schools’ closure as “unfortunate”. Saying it is hard to digest KUSMA member schools’ claims of being under loss, he also castigated the government for holding talks at the eleventh hour.

Several organisations have also taken exception to the statement of KUSMA president G.S. Sharma — who has since resigned — to a regional language newspaper in which he is allegedly referred to children admitted under the 25 per cent RTE quota in derogatory terms.

Protest

Enraged by Mr. Sharma’s conduct, over 100 activists, led by the Dalit Sangharsha Samithi, protested in front of the office of a Kannada channel which was interviewing him. They gheraoed the office and some journalists and shouted slogans against Mr. Sharma till the Cubbon Park police intervened.

Meanwhile, Mavalli Shankar of the DSS has submitted a complaint to the Cubbon Park police station stating that Mr. Sharma’s derogatory statements are in contempt of the Supreme Court order.

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