‘Under Pressure from Hindu Groups’ Teacher Suspended in Karnataka for Permitting Namaz in School

Muslim students offer namaz at a government school in Karnataka’s Kolar district.

The suspension order said that the act of the teacher, S.M. Umadevi, highlights dereliction of duty, and negligence on her part.

Team Clarion

KOLAR, KARNATAKA — The Education Department in Karnataka suspended on Wednesday a teacher on charges of letting students perform namaz inside the school premises in Kolar district, sources said on Friday.

S.M. Umadevi, in-charge head mistress of the Balechengappa Kannada Model Higher Primary School in Someshwarapalya, was suspended allegedly due to pressure from right-wing groups for permitting Muslim students to offer prayers within school premises.

The head mistress incharge had reportedly granted the permission to students to offer namaz in the classroom, in order to keep them from going outside for prayers.

According to News9 report, Hindu groups had created ruckus by entering the office of the headmistress and protesting against the school earlier this week for promoting a religion.

“We had to suspend the headmistress due to pressure from Kolar MP S Muniswamy, Bajrang Dal, and RSS leaders,” Mulbagal MLA H Nagesh told News9.

Nagesh reportedly said that “minor punishment” against the headmistress was necessary to quell the protests of right-wing groups in the region.

The suspension order issued the headmistress read, “It is the duty of the teachers of government schools to inculcate a sense of national integration. Religious tolerance, practices and traditions must be there. However, by allowing students to perform namaz in one of the classrooms instils a divisive mindset.”

The order added that the act of the teacher highlights dereliction of duty, and negligence on her part.

This would have a negative impact on learning and will hinder the overall progress of the educational institution, it added.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Advocate KV Dhananjay told News9 that if schools permit Saraswati Pujas, there is no harm in allowing students to perform namaz in the campus. The most important thing is to ensure there is no discrimination based on religion.

Umadevi has been suspended until further orders pending an inquiry. She has also been asked not to leave the district headquarters without permission.

— With inputs from New9



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