School Won’t Admit Child Whose Mother Tried Entering Sabarimala
On 22 October, Bindu Thankam Kalyani tried to enter Sabarimala but was unsuccessful.
On 22 October, Bindu Thankam Kalyani tried to enter Sabarimala. She was unsuccessful, as protesters surrounded her and chased her. Ever since, the Dalit activist has had to face constant harassment, and was even evicted from her rented house.
Now, Bindu’s 11-year-old daughter has been denied admission in a school after protests outside the said institution.
On Monday, 7 January, Bindu’s daughter was denied admission at Vidya Vanam Higher Secondary School at Anaikatti in Tamil Nadu, owing to the protests from local residents. Vidya Vanam – which is on the Kerala-TN border – had agreed to give her admission earlier, but refused on Monday.
“When I came to the school with my daughter today, their behaviour was strange. The school principal told me that she is not an activist, but an educational activist. What was the need for such conversation while I am seeking admission for my child? I had gone there twice to arrange for admission and the school authorities had agreed. Suddenly they have changed their stand – saying they don’t want to distort the peaceful atmosphere of the school,” Bindu tells TNM.
She, however, says she is not blaming the school. “By the time we reached the school, there were around 60 local people gathered there. All of them were men; they didn’t ask me anything. Only later, a teacher told me that they were assembled to raise an objection to my daughter’s admission,” Bindu says, “The school authorities got afraid. They even asked if I had tried to go to Sabarimala for worship.”
A teacher herself, Bindu attempted to enter Sabarimala on 22 October. She was forced to turn back after angry protests. Ever since, she has been facing abuse, was evicted from her rented house in Kozhikode, and harassed at her friend’s house.
“I had posted in a teachers’ Whatsapp group and told a couple of teachers in my school that I will go to Vidya Vanam school on Monday. The information may have been leaked from there,” she says.
Bindu’s daughter was studying at Agaly Vocational Higher Secondary School where Bindu is a teacher. The 11-year old has been facing isolation, indifference and mental torture from her classmates and other students in the school, Bindu says, after she attempted to enter Sabarimala shrine.
“Even the teachers advised her she shouldn’t become like me. Parents of some students asked them to keep distance from her, she had been facing humiliation, ostracisation… She is firm that she won’t go to Agaly school anymore,” Bindu says.
(The story has been published in an arrangement with The News Minute)
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