Activists ‘raid’ school when Arabic classes were on

Barging in:Sri Rama Sene activists with the headmaster ofSt. Thomas Aided Higher Primary School, Bondantila, near Neermarga, in Mangaluru, on Saturday.— Photo: Special Arrangement  

A group of about 40 persons, said to be Sri Rama Sene activists, “raided” a government-aided higher primary school run by a religious minority institution on the outskirts of Mangaluru on Saturday morning, questioning why Arabic was being taught.

“The group, along with a few media persons, barged into the classrooms on Saturday morning and snatched notebooks from the students. The members, claiming to be activists of Sri Rama Sene, objected to Arabic being taught in the classroom,” said Melwyn Braggs, headmaster of St. Thomas Aided Higher Primary School, Bondantila, near Neermarga here.

The activists were said to have been acting on complaints from parents that their children were being “forcibly” taught Urdu and Arabic on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. One of the sene leaders, Anand Shetty, said the school cannot forcibly teach languages that are not part of the curriculum.

However, Mr. Braggs told The Hindu that they had been teaching German, French and Arabic to students for the last four years. This year, parents had, during the parent-teacher meeting, said they did not want French and German but wanted Arabic and karate classes to continue, he said. While karate is taught on Friday, Arabic classes are held on Saturday, and the school management had made arrangements for teachers to teach these subjects. “Attendance to these classes was purely voluntary,” Mr. Braggs said, adding that only about 40 of the 59 students of classes 6 and 7 were attending the Arabic class.

He said the activists could have talked to him instead of barging into the classroom. Some of the activists were old students of the school, Mr. Braggs said.

Mr. Anand Shetty later told The Hindu that it was not a raid, but an act to “catch the school administration red-handed”. Defending the action, he said: “Had we informed the higher officials, the school would have dismissed the complaint,” he said.

The headmaster has filed a complaint with Mangaluru Rural Police. Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) N.S. Shruthi visited the school and gathered information from the management.

City Police Commissioner M. Chandra Sekhar said they have registered cases of trespass and rioting against the activists.

It was not a raid, but we wanted to catch the school administration


Anand Shetty

Sri Rama Sene leader

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 5:53:21 PM |

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