Mangaluru (The Hindu): St. Thomas Aided Higher Primary School at Bondantila on the outskirts of Mangaluru, which was “raided” by Sri Rama Sene activists last Saturday for teaching Arabic as an extracurricular activity, has stopped teaching the language as well as karate.
Headmaster Melvyn Braggs told The Hindu that the school did not want to “invite any more trouble” by having extracurricular activities for students. None of the parents spoke in favour or against teaching of Arabic, but it was the activists and the village residents who opposed the move, he said.
The school will concentrate on its “core activity”, he said, adding that the police had offered protection if they intended to continue teaching Arabic. “The police visited the school on Saturday to check if there were any problems,” he said.
Though run by Christian minority management, the school has just five Christian students, Mr. Braggs said. There were 25 Muslim and 130 Hindu students as well.
Former Mangaluru Taluk Panchayat president Gokuldas Shetty, who was the president of the School’s Old Students’ Association, said that he did not know the school was teaching Arabic till the “raid”. “It is our school and we have contributed to the infrastructure. The management could have taken us (old students and residents) into confidence when the issue erupted,” he said.
Mr. Shetty said that teaching of Arabic was stopped after the residents planned a protest against the school on Saturday. The management called the residents for a meeting on Friday and assured of stopping the teaching of Arabic.
The residents also demanded withdrawal of the case filed against activists as they did not indulge in arson, though their act of barging into the classroom was improper, Mr. Shetty said.
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