The Tamil Nadu government has directed schools and colleges across the state to prevent communal polarisation in education institutions following reports of Hindutva indoctrination among students and the activities of Hindu Ilaignar Munnani (Hindu Youth Front) and Hindu Manavar Munnani (Hindu Student Front) in campuses to counter allege ‘love jihad’.
In a directive issued last month, the School Education Department warned schools and colleges against patronising such activities. The directive came into the public domain on Wednesday.
“It has been brought to the notice of the Government about the Hindu Ilaignar Munnani and Hindu Manavar Munnai function at schools and colleges to integrate students of secondary and higher secondary level by promoting moral education, devotion, mythology, epics and the history of Hindu leaders. Hindu Ilaignar Munnani would integrate college students (Hindus) by forming units comprising 10 students in every college. The unit would watch the activities of Hindu girl students in the colleges with an aim to prevent any ‘love jihad’ activities,” the circular read.
The directive warned educational campuses that condoning such activities and supporting them would be a violation of the rules and guidelines governing such institutions. It asked educational institutions to keep a watch on them and prevent communal polarisation on the lines of religion, creed, and community.
The educational institutions were asked to take necessary action in this regard and send an action taken report to the government immediately without any delay. Those reports would be taken up at the meeting to review law and order, the circular added.
Surprisingly, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan denied that the department had issued any such directive with regard.
“The School Education Department has not issued a directive with regard to communal mobilisation among school and college students. Any directive or circular would be released only after securing the assent of the Chief Minister,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
The minister had made a similar denial when his department issued a circular more than two months ago to schools across Tamil Nadu against making students sport wrist band of different colours to segregate them in schools on caste lines.
Peter Raja, President, Tamil Nadu High School and Higher Secondary Schools Head Masters’ Association, said no school has sent an action taken report because there was no deadline.
“We have been asked to send an action taken report. So far no school has sent a report and there is no deadline as such. Students being indoctrinated on sectarian lines should not be allowed. There are reports of Hindu right wing groups engaged in organising students on the basis of religious identity which should be nipped in the bud. We welcome the circular. But, the State Education Minister disowning the directive is shocking,” Raja said.
The School Education Minister’s denial of a circular also sparked confusion.
PK Ilamaran, President, Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association, said, “Educational campuses should be kept free of communal and casteist polarisation and segregation. The schools have moral Instruction classes and it is the responsibility of the schools as well as teachers. Outside elements should not be allowed inside the campus since they will poison the young minds. As in the case of the earlier circular proscribing wrist bands, Education Minister has denied any such circular on indoctrination. Is the circular on the government letter head then a fake one?”
“The government had given the go ahead for NGOs to associate with schools to impart discipline and moral education. It is a ploy to allow sectarian outfits and organisations to gain entry into the campus. That Government order should be withdrawn immediately,” Ilamaran said.
Neither the Hindu Ilaignar Munnani nor the Hindu Manavar Munnani are registered bodies and could not be contacted for their views.
This story first appeared on hindustantimes.com