Bangalore: Opposition to the Right to Education (RTE) has taken shocking turns in Karnataka after a school cut off locks of hair of four students from poor families, and a school head compared admission under the RTE to sewage flow.
Locks of hair of two boys and two girls, who joined a private school in Bangalore under the RTE, were allegedly clipped to differentiate them from other students.
Acting on the allegation by parents of the children and several Dalit organisations, the state government on Wednesday slapped a notice on Oxford School, asking it to respond within a week on the incident.
State education department officials and the media were unable to contact the school staff or management as it is closed since Monday as part of a weeklong closure of nearly 1,800 private schools in Karnataka to protest the implementation of the RTE.
The closure, called by the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA), was, however, called off late Wednesday following a split in the association and growing opposition to its move to close the institutions.
KUSMA president G.S. Sharma late Wednesday quit following a row after he allegedly said students getting into private schools under RTE was like sewage flowing to clean water body and polluting it.
Sharma's "comments" were reported in a Kannada daily on Tuesday.
He, however, denied making any such comment and said he was quitting as the head of KUSMA because many of its members were not in favour of closing the schools but fighting their case in the court.
Karnataka primary and secondary education secretary G. Kumar Naik told reporters that the alleged snipping of the locks of hair in Oxford School had come to the government's notice on Wednesday and "we have sought a report from our zonal officers."
Various students organisations, political parties and civic groups on Wednesday held demonstrations across Bangalore and other parts of the state, condemning KUSMA's opposition to RTE and ask its members to close schools for a week.
The call, however, had lukewarm response as most of the 1,800-member schools functioned.
Education department officials said in Bangalore that just around 10 percent of the 1,800 schools had responded to the shutdown call.