Delhi school divided: Hindu and Muslim students assigned to separate sections
A section of teachers employed by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has alleged that a primary school in Wazirabad is segregating Hindu and Muslim students in different sections.
Attendance records of the North MCD Boys’ School, Wazirabad village, Gali Number 9, accessed and analysed by The Indian Express, as of October 9, show the section-wise break up of students:
* Class IA: 36 Hindus, IB: 36 Muslims
* IIA: 47 Hindus, IIB: 26 Muslims and 15 Hindus, IIC: 40 Muslims
* IIIA: 40 Hindus, IIIB: 23 Hindus and 11 Muslims, IIIC: 40 Muslims, IIID: 14 Hindus and 23 Muslims
* IVA: 40 Hindus, IVB: 19 Hindus and 13 Muslims, IVC: 35 Muslims, IVD: 11 Hindus and 24 Muslims
* VA: 45 Hindus, VB: 49 Hindus, VC: 39 Muslims and 2 Hindus, VD: 47 Muslims
MCD schools offer education only till Class V and according to the Right To Education Act, each section should ideally have 30 students at the primary level.
C B Singh Sehrawat, the teacher put in-charge of the school on July 2 after the principal was transferred, denied deliberately segregating the students on the basis of religion. “Reshuffling of sections is standard procedure which happens in all schools. This was a management decision to try and do the best we can to see that there is peace, discipline and a good learning environment in the school. Children fought sometimes.”
Asked if the fights were on the basis of religion, he said, “Of course children this young don’t know about religion, but they squabble over things. Some children are vegetarian, so there may be differences, and so on. We need to look after the interests of all teachers and students.”
A source in the school, however, said that the reshuffling of sections based on religion began only in July this year after Sehrawat took over. The academic session began in April. “The principal was transferred on July 2, after which a teacher was put in charge until a new principal is posted. He initiated these changes and teachers were not consulted in the matter. When some teachers tried to bring it up with him, he responded with aggression and told them that it was none of their concern and that they should do their assigned jobs,” the source said.
According to the source, some teachers from the school went to the MCD zonal office in Civil Lines around 20 days ago to tell authorities about the matter, but they did not put their grievances in writing for fear of being targeted.
A senior official from the education department of the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi said, “Now that this has been brought to our notice, we will definitely inquire about it. If the allegations are true, strict action will be taken.”
Parents of students studying at the school told The Indian Express that they were not aware of this reorganisation. A mother of a Class IV student denied that such segregation was taking place until her son said, “There are no Hindu boys in my class. We were together until a few months back. A good friend of mine is no longer in the same classroom.”
The mother of a Class I student, who was not aware of this development, said, “This is extremely wrong, if true. We believe all children are equal. What is going to happen if they are treated like this at the school level itself? This is very disturbing.”