A government girls’ school, Kamla Nehru Girls Higher Secondary School, in Bhopal have organised a religious workshop where students were supposed to make Shivlings aka Shiva Lingams from clay and the principal of said school told students to participate in the workshop if they want to score good marks in the exams.
Muslims students, when boycotted a workshop, has been allegedly being locked in a separate classroom for protesting against the move and they were later sent back to home.
Workshop was conducted in the presence of officials:
As the workshop was conducted in presence of officials, from the school education department, though no one had objected to carrying such religious activity from taking place within the premises. A priest was also there to perform a yagna(ritualistic Hindu prayer). Nisha Kamrani, principal of the school, instead of objecting it, was telling the students to make Shivlings with all dedication if they want to score good marks.
“If you wish to score good marks in the examination and desire to get a good job, then prepare a Shivling with utmost dedication.”
We were told that our marks would be deducted:
No prior notice or announcement was made. Shaista (name changed), class 10 student, said that class teachers had made any prior announcement about the workshop.
“But nothing was spoken about any such religion-specific activity.” Shaista said
One student reportedly said that we were told if they would not participate then our marks would be deducted.
“When we denied to take part in the activity as it’s against our religious belief, we were told that our marks would be deducted.” Another student Afreen (name changed)
Muslim Students Boycott the Workshop:
Students of different communities study at this government school. When officials found that the Muslim students were seemed to be hesitant to take part in this religious activity, they asked them to sit in another room and were allegedly locked by school authorities. Upon which Muslims students protested and then later they were asked to go home.
Few teachers find it inappropriate:
While some teachers also participated in the puja to celebrate the auspicious month of sawan, while some were not pleased with the activity.
“Conducting such religion-specific activity was not appropriate.”A teacher on condition of anonymity
“Such activities made a group of students uncomfortable. Finally, they had to go home as no classes were held for the day”. A teacher on condition of anonymity
A bhandara (feast) was also organised by the school authorities after the students had completed the workshop and done away with the task of making Shivlings.