Teacher Never Spoke Against Gods, Protest Stage Managed: Karnataka School

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Teacher Never Spoke Against Gods, Protest Stage Managed: Karnataka School

Mangaluru:

The headmistress of St Gerosa English higher primary school in the city on Thursday said the recent incident in which a teacher was accused of making anti-Hindu remarks appears to be stage-managed, and revealed that she was pressured by BJP MLA Vedavyas Kamath to remove the teacher from the job.

The incident seems intended to tarnish the image of school which has been imparting quality education with minimum fees in the past 60 years, she added.

In a press statement, School Headmistress Sister Anitha clarified that Sr Prabha, the teacher who was removed from her post following allegations of hurting Hindu sentiments, was only explaining a poem by Rabindranath Tagore in the classroom.

“The teacher had not spoken anything against gods, but explained to the students the meaning of the poem ‘Work is Worship’ by Tagore,” she said, quoting the full text of the poem in her statement.

The teacher had explained the meaning of the poem which says that temples, churches, and mosques are only buildings and god dwells in human hearts, she further clarified.

The headmistress said four persons had approached her on February 10 with a complaint that Sr Prabha had made some derogatory statements against the Hindu religion, and she had assured them that an inquiry would be held.

As alleged by the anonymous woman in a voice message that has gone viral and reiterated by BJP leaders, Sr Prabha did not make any derogatory remarks against Hinduism or any other religion or the Prime Minister, while explaining the poem, Sr Anitha explained.

She said the school management had approached the district administration stating that the viral audio message was far from the truth and had sought an inquiry into the matter. They also sought protection, fearing untoward incidents.

A complaint was also lodged with the police to take action in the instance of the woman’s audio being propagated and thus being made viral, Sr Anitha said.

On February 12, officials from the education department, a subject expert from the block education office and a coordinator from the office of the Deputy Director of Public Instruction visited the school and the incident was explained to them.

Later, local MLA Vedavyas Kamath arrived at the school with a group of Hindu activists who shouted slogans against the school. The management recognised him as the MLA and invited him inside the school, but he refused and continued the protest. They instigated students to shout slogans against their own school, Sr Anitha alleged.

She said Kamath wanted her to dismiss the teacher or else face an intensified agitation, to which she replied that she cannot act without an inquiry.

“But the mob led by the MLA pressured me to remove the teacher with immediate effect. With no other go and to maintain law and order, and to disperse the mob that was swelling, I was forced to issue a statement removing Sr Prabha from the job,” the headmistress said.

She said Sr Prabha has a total teaching experience of 16 years including five years in Gerosa School. “There has been no complaint against her so far. The critical point of the episode which needs to be probed is whether the lady who spoke about the school in the viral audio is actually the parent of a Gerosa student,” she pointed out.

The headmistress said it appears that the protest was stage managed to tarnish the image of school, which has been imparting quality education with minimum fees. “We, being secular in our outlook always respect all students and do not discriminate anyone based on caste, creed or religion. Every year, we celebrate Deepavali, Christmas and Eid,” she added. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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