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Stop it, for God’s sake!

Highlights

The head of a Delhi Government school made headlines for segregating his students into Hindu and Muslim segments for attending the classes The students were reportedly highly disturbed It was perhaps their first taste of the political India Down South, in Cuddalore town of Tamilnadu, students carry their caste on their hands

The head of a Delhi Government school made headlines for segregating his students into Hindu and Muslim segments for attending the classes. The students were reportedly highly disturbed. It was perhaps their first taste of the political India. Down South, in Cuddalore town of Tamilnadu, students carry their caste on their hands - wear colourful bands or tattoos to display their castes. The red and blue and yellow and blue bands not only display their identities but also act as a warning to those out to seek trouble with them. That, any way is not India. Or, should not have been India.

The civic body of North Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC)-run school in Wazirabad was suspended for his 'unimaginable' and 'unpardonable' act. Was he emboldened because the Council is run by the Central Government? All the students in the school come from a poor background. Coming to Cuddalore, the rubber bands and tattoos etc., came into vogue because of discrimination.

A tucked-in shirt, a neat haircut or talking to a girl students of a powerful caste always mean a physical attack here. Caste based conflicts are common in the area. Electoral politics are playing havoc with these schools in Cuddalore where politicians use the kids in elections. 'Insecurity' is said to be leading to display of such bands and identity marks.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had also taken note of the reported use of different bands in Tirunelveli district known for violent clashes between OBCs' and Dalits. Last year a Pew Research Center analysis of 198 countries ranked India as fourth worst in the world for religious intolerance. India trailed only Syria, Nigeria and Iraq - places where sectarian violence is widespread and expected because of the encouragement given by the rulers and opponents to the various sects.

Pew analysed cases that involved hate crimes, mob violence, communal violence, religion-related terror, the use of force to prevent religious practice, the harassment of women for not conforming to religious dress codes and violence over conversion or proselytising. The trouble in India, the study found out, was with both Hindus and Muslims. But, when it came to Hindus' getting harassed, the Pew noted that 18 countries noticed it. Another factor that the study noted was that religious freedom, be it Hindu, Muslim or Christian, was lesser in India with Government interfering in one form or the other. However, there are oases in this country too like Sadhan village near Agra where a Hindu has a Muslim name and vice versa.

Villagers like Osman Khan, a former priest, now practices Christianity openly here. Then there is Amanati Masjid in Barasat, 25 kms from Kolkota, which is run by a Bangladeshi Hindu immigrant family. The entrance has these words:"Probhu ke Pronam Karo" - a perfect blend of Christian, Hindu and Muslim devotees. Sometime back, subjected to constant harassment, a group of Dalit students dropped out of a Delhi- based school and had gone ahead to form a music band of their own named after Savitribai Phule for social awakening. Please give the youth, development, not religion, for God's sake!

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