PALAKKAD: The students of the Government Vocational HSS (GVHSS) in Pathripala have complained that they were called to participate in an agitation — organised by the district unit of the SFI before the collectorate — on the promise that they will be given “biriyani” but had to return empty-handed. The incident happened on Tuesday.
One student from the Pathripala GVHSS -- located 20 kilometres from the Palakkad collectorate -- said SFI leaders, some of whom he named, had told them they could return by noon and will be provided with food. But they managed to return only by 4pm, the student said. He pointed out that six students from his class alone had gone for the agitation, with a bus arranged for their trip. The students did not seek permission from either their parents or the head of the school. During the collectorate march, the SFI district committee released an “avakasha pathrika” and demanded the state government consider it.
The issue came to light when the teachers, on failing to find some students in the classroom, sent WhatsApp messages to their parents informing of their absence. The parents were taken aback when they came to know their wards were missing, with some parents reaching the school immediately. One parent had also lodged a complaint with the Mankara police station stating that his son was missing.
The students said they were brought back in the bus and dropped near the school in the evening, but without being provided any food. They claimed SFI leaders from other institutions too had come to take them. The parents alleged that the teachers of Left unions had a role in sending the students for the agitation.
However, PTA president O Suresh Babu said there has been no lapse on the part of the school in ensuring the students’ security. He said such an incident had never taken place in the past. A meeting of teachers, parents, police and school authorities was held on Wednesday in which representatives of political parties also participated, Suresh said. While parents’ complaints were received, it has also been decided that the headmistress will speak to the students personally.
The Child Welfare Committee Chairman M V Mohan said he will examine the issue of students being lured to a political event during class hours on false promises. The headmistress, T Anitha, has been asked to submit a report, he said. Anitha said the students had gone out of the school without the authorities’ knowledge. If the SFI leaders had taken them, it was wrong, she said.
Meanwhile, the Ottappalam area committee of the SFI said no student was compelled to participate in the agitation. The SFI statement said the students had participated voluntarily and that the allegations were part of a ploy by rival students’ organisations to paint the SFI in a bad light.