DEHRADUN: A popular school in Dehradun was vandalised, its window panes broken and furniture damaged after students performed a skit on Eid as part of their “secular celebrations”. They also celebrate Hindu and Christian festivals with equal gusto.

A heavy police force was deployed outside it on Monday and Tuesday. It remained closed on Tuesday, even as protesters continued to raise slogans and deface the walls of the schools.

It all started when some parents and local social organisations submitted a complaint to the Dehradun district administration, saying their children were “forced” to take part in Eid celebrations and were being “made to learn Urdu”. The group, which held a protest in front of the private school in Dehradun and another one in front of the education department, said they wanted action against the school authorities. A member of the private CBSE school in Dehradun’s Vasant Vihar, told TOI that they organise “special assemblies” on all big occasions, religious or otherwise. “We recently organised a special assembly on Republic Day, for example. For Eid, a skit had been organised and kids had dressed up as Muslim characters. Exams were going on during Holi so there weren’t any major celebrations. As for forcing students to learn Urdu, the language is not a part of our syllabus. We offer only two elective languages: French and Sanskrit,” she said. She added: “Our institution is 37 years old and has branches across India. At the Doon branch, over 700 students of all communities study. We don’t mean to hurt anyone’s sentiments.” The school administration also clarified that it “believes the vandalism was done by right-wing groups and not at the behest of parents and that it hasn’t filed a complaint yet”.

Vikas Verma, a local Bajrang Dal leader who was part of the protests, said the education department must ensure “such immoral activities don’t take place in schools”. City magistrate Kusum Chauhan said, “The complaint has been shared with police and the education department. An investigation will be done before taking any action. It is difficult to know how many parents have objections as the complaint doesn’t make that clear.” The education department, however, said they are yet to receive the complaint but will act as soon as they get it…

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