The suspension of a school principal in Goa by the management has stirred controversy, as Hindu organizations have accused him of permitting students to visit a mosque where they were reportedly compelled to wear hijabs.
In response to this incident, Shailesh Zingade, the Director of the Directorate of Education, has taken a proactive approach by requesting an official explanation from the administration of the higher secondary school. This situation emerged when a Muslim organization approached the school, expressing a desire to have its students participate in an educational workshop they were hosting.
According to a concerned individual who participated in the school gathering demanding the suspension of the principal, the unsettling incident unfolded as follows: “After interacting with students, we came to know that four girls were instructed to wear Hijab, a directive they adamantly declined to follow. Furthermore, eight Maulanas conducted presentations on their religion during the workshop, which some perceived as an attempt to influence or manipulate the students.” Meanwhile, Pandurang Korgaonkar, the Chairman of Keshav Smruti Higher Secondary School, confirmed that Principal Shankar Gaonkar has indeed been suspended in light of the controversy surrounding these events.
Pandurang Korgaonkar, the Chairman of Keshav Smruti Higher Secondary School, has confirmed that Principal Shankar Gaonkar’s suspension is directly linked to the unfolding issue. Korganokar elaborated on the situation, stating, “Following a preliminary inquiry into the matter, we discovered that a letter from a Muslim organization had prompted the organization of an educational workshop. In total, 22 students from our school participated in this workshop, which included a diverse group comprising two Hindu and two Christian female students. Additionally, students from a government higher secondary school also attended the event, and in accordance with their cultural tradition, they chose to wear scarves upon entering the mosque.”
In a bid to address the situation, Keshav Smruti Higher Secondary School’s Chairman, Pandurang Korganokar, expressed his stance, stating, “I have personally extended my apologies to all individuals who contacted me regarding this incident. It is important to understand that the principal’s intentions were not malicious; he simply arranged for the students’ participation in the workshop.”
He clarified further, noting, “There were no constraints involved with the students’ decision to wear scarves; both teachers and students made this choice voluntarily. The hosting organization had orchestrated an event titled ‘Mosque open for all,’ with a primary focus on education, which our students attended.” Korganokar went on to express his apologies to groups like Bajrang Dal and other Hindu organizations, emphasizing that he is keen to mend any hurt sentiments. Additionally, he disclosed that the school’s management plans to submit a comprehensive explanation to the Education Department in the near future.