AAP condemns attack by SRS on St Thomas School
- AAP Extends Support to the St.Thomas Kannada Medium School Attacked by Sri Ram Sene Goons
Mangaluru: In a shameful event on Saturday, 30 July, a group of Sri Ram Sene members barged into a government-aided Kannada medium school in Padu-Bondanthila village near Neermarga, Mangalore Taluk. They entered into classrooms where the students were being taught Arabic as an optional, extra-curricular session. AAP Dakshina Kannada unit strongly condemns the actions of Sri Ram Sene and stands in solidarity with the children, parents and teachers of St. Thomas Higher Secondary School.
A delegation of AAP led by Smt. Shanthala Damle, AAP State Co-convener in-charge of Dakshina Kannada district, met the headmaster Melwin Braggs (seen in the picture with the bus) and a retired school teacher, Thomas Fernandes at the school and enquired about the welfare of children after the attack. Braggs said that three people have been arrested since the attack and police are looking for the other attackers. While some parents were fearful, he expressed confidence that the people will stand by them and have assured the parents to send the children to school. He expressed relief that the school was well-attended today.
Braggs said that the fact that the main attackers were the locals who were former students of this school pains him greatly. In more than 100 years the school has been run, he said, such a thing never happened. 160 students are enrolled in this village school where the institution provides a school bus for a very nominal charge. Although run by a Christian Institution, only 5 students are Christians in this aided Kannada medium school. Only about 25 are Muslims and the rest are Hindu children.
The school has been teaching Karate as well. French and German were also taught earlier. Since many of the parents expect that their children may get job opportunities in future in Gulf countries, they feel that knowledge of some Arabic will be beneficial, and hence school was offering Arabic lessons. While Braggs hopes that the parents don’t give into fear and continue to support extra-curricular lessons which are in the best interests of the children.
Rohan Shiri, an AAP member, expresses anguish that although the majority of the Mangaloreans are peace-loving people, the 1% who are goons are bringing a bad name to Mangaluru by engaging in goondaism. Shanthala Damle urges people to not give in to fear, which feeds the anti-social elements further, and stay united. “If anyone is threatened by any communal goons, they should call AAP Dakshina Kannada helpline 8884431217 and AAP volunteers will accompany them to the police station and mobilize needed support,” Shanthala Damle said.