Home News Goa Principal Suspended After Taking Students On School Trip To Mosque

Goa Principal Suspended After Taking Students On School Trip To Mosque



The principal of a private school in Goa’s Vasco was suspended by the school board after a group of students were taken to a mosque and asked to perform religious rituals. The students of Keshav Smurthi Higher Secondary School were invited to the mosque by the Students Islamic Organisation or SIO on Saturday. The invite was part of an initiative to promote communal harmony.

Once there, the girls in the group “– all students of Class XI — were seen with their uniform dupatta on their heads. The boys were seen performing “Wazu”, a ritual washing of ones face, hands, arms and feet, before entering the mosque.

After photographs of the girls in scarves went viral on social media, agitated parents staged a protest in front of the school on Monday. They were accompanied by members of various right-wing groups including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.  

“The act of the Islamic organisation was highly condemnable, shameful and would not be tolerated. This could be a practice of ‘school jihad’. The Hindu community and VHP will never allow these types of practices,” said Sanju Korgaonkar, VHP’s South Goa joint secretary and Mormugao taluka secretary.

Following a complaint from the right-wing groups, the Vasco police summoned the suspended principal, Shankar Gaonkar, and the local unit secretary of SIO, to record their statements.

“We have been organising such activity for several years,” said Usman Khan, Zonal Secretary of the SIO.  

“The ‘Visit Masjid’ programme of the SIO tries to bridging the gap between communities and promoting better understanding. The goal of this activity has always been to dispel misconceptions about many facets of Islam among our brothers who practice other faiths, especially the Hindu and Christian groups,” he added.

The organisation, he said, is often questioned why women are not allowed in the mosque. People from other communities also have questions about customs and practices of Islam, which is why this initiative was undertaken.

“We appeal to the management of Keshav Smruti Higher Secondary School to revoke the Suspension of the Principal,” he added.

Pandurang Korgaonkar, chairman of the Keshav Smriti School, said the school management was “unaware of the students performing rituals” during the visit to the mosque.  

“We apologise for hurting sentiments. Principal Shankar Goankar has been placed under suspension till further notice,” he said.

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