Indore: Nearly 40 Muslim girl students were made to sit separately while writing their Class 12 final exam at a school here with the authorities claiming the segregation was driven by COVID-19-related protocols and denied any religious bias.
Parents of these students complained of discrimination against their wards, a charge outrightly denied by the authorities.
Officials said one of the students in the group of nearly 40 was a Hindu and the pupils were separated from others as they hailed from COVID-19 containment zones in Indore – one of the worst-hit coronavirus districts in India.
They took their examination on Wednesday by sitting on the covered terrace of the Bengali Higher Secondary School in the Navlakha area of the city, they added.
The development had infuriated the parents of these students who cried foul and alleged discrimination against their children.
On Thursday, a Muslim communitys charitable society, running the Islamia Karimiya Girls Higher Secondary School (IKGHSS), threw its weight behind its students and petitioned the district administration against the school in question.
IKGHSS students write their tests at the Bengali School, designated as a centre for them by the MP Examination Board.
In the letter, IKGHSS alleged their students were made to write examinations under a blazing sun which angered their parents.
District Education Officer (DEO) Rajendra Makwana said, The administration has issued orders to 131 examination centres and 14 sub-centres for making separate seating arrangements for students coming from containment areas to check the spread of the coronavirus.”
He said this order was followed at the Bengali School, too.
The DEO said, We did not make these 40 students sit in an open space under scorching sun. In fact they sat on the dais with a roof where cultural programmes of the school are held.”
He said one of the students was a Hindu.
The DEO said students are made to sit according to their role numbers and not by taking into account their names.
“That is why, the question of discrimination does not arise,” he added.
Makwana said 54 other Muslim students wrote their exam with children of other faiths on Wednesday in rooms of the same school as they did not come from containment areas.
Meanwhile, the incident took a political hue with Congress spokesman Ameenul Khan Suri on Thursday evening seeking a probe into the entire episode.
As many as 3,933 people have tested coronavirus positive in Indore district so far, according to the health department.
Twenty-eight areas have been designated as containment zones in the district to stem the coronavirus spread.