Last week teams of the Madhya Pradesh Child Commission with members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) inspected a private school in Damoh City of Madhya Pradesh. The school sparked controversy following posters of Hindu and Jain girls wearing hijabs (compulsory in Islam), installed outside the campus building. Soon after the inspection, the Chief Minister of the state took cognizance of the matter and the education department immediately suspended the registration of the school.
The school, Ganga Jamna Higher Secondary School, in the name of a private English medium School imparted religious education to the students. They provided compulsory Islamic education to students belonging to other faith than Islam. The compulsory language for the students at the school was Arabic and Urdu.
It is pertinent to mention that Quranic verses were painted outside the school walls, and classrooms and the school had a secret door to a Mosque. Organiser went on ground to find the hidden truth behind the controversy, we also met the Hindu parents who were sending their children to this school. Readers can go through the ground report here.
More than 250 students studying at the school were reciting ‘Surah-Al-Fatiha’ as morning prayer with controversial Pakistani poet Allama Iqbal’s poem, ‘Lab Pe Aai Hai Dua..’. Read the story of this 11-year-old Hindu boy who recited Fatiha on camera for Organiser, here.
On June 2, 2023, the Madhya Pradesh Education Board suspended the registration of the Ganga Jamna School by issuing a circular (number–3129). As per the order, the registration of the school stands suspended till further orders.
The National Child Protection Commission (NCPCR) has been actively working in the case and has made sure that young minds remain untouched by Islamic fanatics.
A First Information Report (number–498/2023) was registered at the Damoh Kotwali on June 7 against the principal Afsa Shiekh daughter of Sahil Shrivastava, maths teacher Anas Ahtar and peon Rustum. All these accused have been booked under IPC sections 295-A (outraging religious feelings), 506 (criminal intimidation), sections 75 and 87 of the Juvenile Justice Act and sections 3 / 5 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. On June 10, all three accused were sent to jail.
On June 13 the state Home Minister Dr Narottam Mishra while speaking with the media said, ‘There can be bulldozer action against the illegal construction at the Ganga Jamna School’. The same day the Municipal Corporation teams arrived at the school with a bulldozer and removed the illegally constructed structure on the third floor. Notably, the same team when arrived in the morning was sent back by the Muslim community.
Notably, the next day the administration did demolish some illegal construction in the school but the culprits are still walking free.
Contrary to the stringent action against the school authorities, the administration moved to the High Court demanding relief. They wanted the registration to be granted back.
However, the High Court disposed of the petition and instructed the state government to take action against the school authorities as per state rules. As of now the registration of the school stands suspended.
Informing about the decision the NCPCR Chairperson, Priyank Kanoongo wrote on Twitter, “In the petition filed by the school management against the suspension of recognition of Damoh’s Ganga Jamna School, the hearing in the Hon’ble High Court of Jabalpur is over, the suspension will remain intact.”
Kanoongo while speaking with Organiser on July 2 said the court has upheld the suspension of the registration for the school by dismissing their writ petition saying it was baseless.
Notably, on behalf of the NCPCR, advocate Swarupma Chaturvedi presented before the bench on Justice Vivek Agarwal on June 27, however, the hearing was postponed to July 1, due to some technical issues.
On July 1, the bench of Justice Ahluwalia dismissed the petition saying it lacks substantial grounds, it has no urgency and the prosecution failed to establish any solid defence. Upholding the suspension the court said, the children (1208, enrolled in the school) are the responsibility of the state and gave three weeks time to present a report relating to the suspension to the school authorities.
The MP SCPCR member Megha Pawar shared a copy of the issues raised by the commission with Organiser. The issues are as many as seven in number including mandatory Hijab, Islamic prayers, secret door to the Mosque, Islamic religious activities forced upon students, Quranic verses imprinted on walls and so on.
Keeping in mind the education of the children, the work of giving TC to the parents who have not taken TC is going on, along with the Damoh district administration has said that arrangements will be made for the education of all the children.