Talibanisation’ stops Muslim students’ tour

via New Indian Express published on January 13, 2006

KOCHI: Call it ‘Talibanisation’ of the education sector. Fifty Muslim students of the St Augustines Girl’s High School, Kothamangalam, were asked not to join the school excursion following an NDF “fatwa” against the itinerary covering Christian shrines.


Believe it or not, the decision was taken after the school authorities received a call from Deputy Director of Education (DDE) Sanu allegedly on behalf of the Education Minister “advising” the headmistress to drop the students from the trip fearing NDF backlash. As usual the school planned the trip for the Standard X students on January 7, before their annual examination, to Mannanam in Kottayam, where the founder of the school, Chavara Kuriakose Elias, is laid to rest.


The unrest started when alleged NDF activists threatened the school authorities with dire consequences if the Muslim students were taken to Mannanam. Posters were pasted on the compound wall of the school warning against taking Muslim students on the trip.


Following the threat, the parents of the Muslim students gave a written statement to the school that the students were being allowed to join the excursion with their consent.


Some members of the NDF called up the DDE and Education Minister’s office asking to prevent the Muslim students from joining the trip. As directed from the Education Minister’s office, the DDE called up the school authorities at midnight of the day before the trip was planned and requested them not to take the Muslim students with them.


The Muslim students who assembled on the school premises on the day of the trip were asked not to join the trip. It is pointed out that with the communalisation issue being raked up by some Muslim outfits there was a sharp divide among the students, for the reasons unknown to them.


Sanu told this website’s newspaper that the school authorities were advised to take an appropriate decision and not to force any student to join the trip. He denied that the Minister’s office had called to convey the message to the school and said that the decision was taken following several anonymous calls being received in this regard.

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