Karnataka Officials close down private school ,112 students have been displaced

Karnataka - Mangalore

MANGALORE: Shastri Memorial High School at Puralthadka in Bantwal taluk was closed down by Deputy Director of Public Instruction C. Chame Gowda on Monday on the false grounds that it did not meet the basic infrastructure requirements stipulated by the Government.

The 112 students of the school, belonging to classes eight, nine and 10, are now left with nowhere to go.

Around 9.30 a.m. on Monday, a group of over 200 members belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh arrived at the school and demanded its closure since it did not have the necessary licences and clearances, said Assistant Superintendent of Police (Puttur subdivision) Amith Singh. Anothergroup led by Jagannatha Shetty, also came there and took sides with the school management and opposed the closure of the school. Meanwhile, the students, who were allegedly forced to come out of their classrooms by the BJP and RSS members, began shouting slogans against the closure of the school, said Mr. Singh.
Mr. Gowda said that the school was given clearance in 1986 without proper inspection of the facilities offered. Since then, clearances were given and then revoked. The case finally landed in the High Court and is still pending.

Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, a veteran RSS leader who led the agitation the previous day, said on Tuesday that there were other schools in the vicinity where the displaced students could go to. “Our intention is not to spoil their future. We do not want an illegal school to run,” he said and added that the school did not even have enough furniture, toilets and a drinking water source.

However, Bondala Jagannath Shetty from the Congress said that the RSS wanted to shut down the school because it was offering competition to another school in the vicinity run by the Hindutva Sangh Parivar. “Most of the students in this school are from minority communities. They just want a pretext to harass these students,” he said.

Stressing that the Congress was not in favour of the school's management, Mr. Shetty said, “The students' future is our main concern. The administration should not bow to political pressure and close the school without warning.”

About the displaced students, Mr. Gowda said that they would be rehabilitated in other schools. “But they will have to answer a written test to prove that they are qualified to continue in the same class. This is necessary because