Protest Erupts in West Bengal School Over Alleged Religious Discrimination
Protest Erupts in West Bengal School Over Alleged Religious Discrimination

Kolkata: Parents of students at Raghunathganj Higher Girls School in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, took to the streets on Friday, June 14, to protest against the school administration's alleged discriminatory actions. The uproar stemmed from an incident where a teacher purportedly banned Hindu students from wearing tilak and Tulsi malas to school.

Both the tilak and the Tulsi mala hold deep religious and cultural significance in Hinduism, beyond mere symbols. They represent spiritual devotion and cultural identity for many adherents of the faith. According to local sources, a student revealed the issue to her parents, who then raised the matter with the school principal. Allegations also surfaced that the school's mid-day meals lacked vegetarian options, causing distress to vegetarian students.

Protestors gathered outside the school gates, chanting bhajans in protest. The demonstration gained momentum as sadhus and devotees from ISKCON joined the parents in demanding the withdrawal of the alleged directive. The incident reportedly occurred upon students' return to school after summer vacations. An eighth-grade student, Anu Mondal, claimed that her class teacher, Vashwati, admonished her for wearing a tilak, citing a previous warning issued before the vacation.

Mondal recounted the teacher's insistence on removing the tilak, claiming it caused discomfort. Additionally, she highlighted concerns regarding vegetarian students being compelled to consume non-vegetarian meals. District Inspector Amar Kumar Sheel clarified that there is no government mandate prohibiting students from wearing tilaks to school. He affirmed that school authorities should not object to such religious practices.

Principal Karabi Nandi acknowledged the incident, stating that a teacher had indeed advised against wearing tilaks. However, she affirmed that there is no rule banning tilaks in the school, and students are free to practice their religion. Nandi reassured that girls can wear tilaks to school without hindrance. The controversy underscores the importance of respecting religious diversity within educational institutions and upholding students' rights to express their cultural and religious identities without discrimination.

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