KASARGOD: The state government’s figure of 1.24 lakh schoolchildren who have opted not to mention their religion or caste is falling flat with many schools reporting none of their students have left the column blank. According to the data submitted by Minister for Education C Raveendranath in the Assembly, six schools from Kasargod had more than 400 students who left the religion and caste column blank. But the six school have disputed the figure.
“My school has 783 students and the religions of all students have been entered in the government site Sampoorna,” said N A Abubacker, chairman of N A Model Higher Secondary School in Kasargod. According to the minister, as many as 427 students of the school left the caste column blank. But Abubacker said he had entered caste for Muslim students too as ‘Mappila’.
The names of the other schools which had more than 400 students that opted for no religion-no caste are Malja-ul Islam School at Pachambala (505 students), A J I A Upper Primary School (478); St Paul’s AUPS at Trikaripur (702); Udaya English Medium Higher Secondary School at Manjeshwaram (427) and Al Saqafi School at Manjeshwaram (491 students). That is 3,030 students from the six schools. But Abubacker said he spoke to all the five institutions and not one student from these schools had opted for ‘no religion’.
When asked if the government had clubbed the figures of students who opted for ‘no caste’ with ‘no religion’ to make the figure look impressive, he said even then the numbers were wrong. To be sure, Christians students would be leaving their caste column blank, but not the religion.
He said the minister committed a criminal offence by wrongly stating the figures. “Some parents are very touchy about their religion. So, I was in the school until noon, waiting for parents to explain to them the goof,” he said.