Student's parents demand dismissal

The principal of Believers' Church English Medium School at Gurupuram, who issued a transfer certificate to a Muslim girl student allegedly for wearing a headscarf to school, has been placed under suspension by the school management. However, the parents of the student have refused to accept the suspension and have threatened to move court if the principal was not sacked.

Believers' Church Kerala secretary Fr. Williams informed the decision to suspend the principal at a meeting convened to sort out the issue here on Friday by District Collector P. Venugopal. Fr. Williams said the church authorities did not know about the issue of the transfer certificate and that they were not informed about it at any stage. The principal's act, they said, had questioned the very credibility of the church, he said.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Fr. Williams said there were several Muslim students in various schools run by the Believers' Church, and nowhere did any such rule banning headscarves exist. Apart

from suspending the principal, Mary Jessintha, the Education Committee of the church was conducting a separate inquiry and, if need be, further punitive action would be initiated. The church would also cooperate with any probe by the government and had in fact demanded that an officer of IG rank should conduct an inquiry, he added.

However, Nazir Musaliar, father of the student, said the principal's act had questioned religious customs and that a mere suspension was not enough. “She should be sacked, a criminal case should be booked against her and she should be jailed. If they do not do it, we will file a case in the court and see that she gets apt punishment,” he told reporters.

Mr. Nazir also said he did not intend to send his daughter to the same school, though the school management had agreed to take her back. He wanted to send her to another CBSE school in Mannancherry. The Collector had allowed time till Monday to take a decision, he said.

Mr. Venugopal, meanwhile, said he preferred the student to return to the same school. But since the parents were not of the same opinion, he would help them to secure admission in the school of their choice,

he said.

The principal, Ms. Jessintha, did not participate in the meeting.

Church authorities said she kept away from the meeting fearing an attack against her.