In another incident of communal unrest in Karnataka, Hindutva goons barged into a school in the Kolar district and created a scene over Muslim students offering prayers in the school premises.
In a video that surfaced on social media on Sunday, Muslim students can be seen offering prayers inside a classroom and in the same video, the group of men can be seen shouting and attempting to intimidate the school management. Following this, the police had to intervene and the men can be seen indulging in an argument with the cops as well.
Students of the Mulbagal Someshwara Palaya Bale Changappa Government Kannada Model Higher Primary School have been offering Friday prayers inside the premises since December 2021, reported The News Minute. Although no formal complaint has been filed against the school, the district collector has reportedly ordered a probe after protests by members of a Hindutva outfit.
Although the headmistress Uma Devi denied it initially, the students were given permission to hold prayers within the school, to prevent the children from going outside the premises.
On January 21, Uma Devi had denied any knowledge about the incident and in another video can be heard saying that she was unaware of the development and came to know about this only after being informed by the Block Education Officer. “It has happened without my knowledge. In the future, we will not allow this. All students are equal for us. We have not told anyone to do namaz or anything,” she said.
According to a report based on an inquiry by the BEO, she said that a team that visited the school, around 25-30 students were performing namaz regularly. “There are around 165 students from the Muslim community and the total strength of the school is 375. There is a mosque right next to the school, there is no issue in them going there for prayers,” Girijeshwari Devi said.
Sources within the school say that after the school reopened after the pandemic, the school had to premise the children to pray within the premises, at lunchtime, as it was difficult to bring them for the afternoon session, post their prayers at the mosque nearby.
After the news of the commotion created by the Hindutva goons spread, Deputy Commissioner of the district, Umesh Kumar ordered an inquiry into the incident by the Deputy Director of Public Instruction.
Karnataka in the recent past has seen an increase in the number of similar incidents of communal unrest where Hindutva goons have targetted Muslims and Christians.