Mumbai School Fires Muslim Principal for Liking Pro-Palestine Posts on Social Media

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Praveen Shaikh said the school’s action appears to be politically motivated. She said she was considering legal options.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Concerned citizens on Wednesday expressed their displeasure after a school in Mumbai fired Muslim principal, Praveen Shaikh, for liking social media posts in support of the Palestinians.

The Somaiya School took action against Shaikh, associated with the institution for 12 years after the Hindutva propaganda website OpIndia published a report targeting her social media activities.

In a statement, the school authorities said: “Recently, it has come to our attention that the personal social media activities of Ms Parveen Shaikh, who holds a leadership position at The Somaiya School, have been starkly misaligned with the values we cherish… We strongly support the right to freedom of expression, yet we recognise that it is not absolute and must be exercised with responsibility and respect for others.”

Earlier, the school authorities first asked Shaikh to resign from her post after the report on her liking of posts on X was published. However, she refused to step down citing her freedom of expression. Then, the authorities sought a written explanation from her on 4 May, and was ultimately sacked.

Shaikh described the school’s decision as “illegal” and based on lies.

“I was shocked to know the news of my termination from social media even before receiving it from the management. The termination notice is completely illegal and based on defamatory lies peddled against me. My work as a school principal has been exceptional and my termination for such reason is wrongful and unjust,” she was quoted as saying in an Indian Express report.

Shaikh further said: “I am disappointed that despite my hard work, dedication and sincere contribution to the school’s growth over 12 years, the management chose not to stand by me in the face of this vitriolic public vilification campaign against me, and instead fell prey to it and took this drastic and unwarranted action. This action appears to be politically motivated. I hold firm belief in our legal system and the Indian Constitution and I am currently considering my legal options.”

Talking about Shaikh’s sacking, standup comedian Kajol Srinivasan said: “This is the worst thing the Somaiya School could have done. Bow to right-wing bullying and give them more confidence to try again. Praveen is one of the best principals, I have dealt with her personally and this is a tragedy”.

Professor Apoorvanand of Delhi University described the sacking as the victory of goons. “Finally, the goons won! The nice people gave in! Others watched silently. In this country, to use Gandhi’s words what we are witnessing is gundaism ruling our lives,” he said.

Bombay High Court lawyer Mathew Antony warned the Somaiya School authorities of facing consequences if there is a change in the regime in Maharashtra.

“Firing a performer & a long-time teacher for 13 years plus Ms. Parveen Shaikh for expressing her independent views outside the campus, you have denied her fundamental rights,” he said.

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