Probably unknowingly, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi became the reason to declare holiday for over 20 school-colleges in Hubli during his visit on Friday.
It is learnt that Saint Mary’s, Saint Anthony, Fatima, Convent, Chinmaya, Sanskar schools and colleges like Oxford declared holiday for afternoon classes in the wake of Modi’ event. Parents and public are suspecting that BJP leaders insisted to close schools through police and education department officials.
Ramesh Patil, one of parents, said that declaring holiday in the wake of safety of children is not wrong. “But, many schools started calling parents after noon and suddenly declared holiday, which created panic among students, parents and public,” he added.
Principals of various schools affirmed that they did so on request of parents. “Many parents expressed fear of traffic jam and possibility of untoward incidents. So we decided to send children home,” said the principal of an English-medium school in Keshwapur area.
School authorities took letters of acceptance of children from their parents and sent students home. “As they informed over phone, we had to take a half-day leave to take our children home. They should have intimated us in advance so that autorickshaw and van drivers could have ferried students,” opined Bharat Kabadi, another parent.
NSUI national delegate Rajat Ullagaddimath alleged that speculations were created by BJP workers. “As communal violence was spread in the city during VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s visit in 2001 and stones were pelted at schools run by Christian organisations, many parents were made to recall that incidents and took children home,” he said.
However, chairman of Snaskar School Mahendra Singhi—also a Congressma—said that as his school is located just opposite to rally ground, parents were informed two days in advance about the holiday.
BJP district president Lingaraj Patil said that the party had not requested any department or institutions to close schools. “As per my knowledge, only students of BVB College of Engineering and Technology bunked classes and participated in the event on their own volition. I also found that students of some colleges were present on rally ground,” he added.
Police commissioner Ravindra Prasad said that he had not asked any institute to close down. Officials in the education department said that headmasters are the ones who have the power to declare holiday if they find any tense situation around the school.