Hindu organisations have opposed Tirunelveli district administration’s love to shift students of HRCE run school to a Muslim school. The district administration has set up a Covid-19 testing and care centre in the HRCE run girls school and wanted to shift the students to a Muslim boys school nearby. After Hindu organisations and BJP staged a protest against the move expressing fears about grooming/love jihad, district administration is said to have dropped the plan.
Shri Kanthimathi Ambal Girl’s Higher Secondary School in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu is a government school run by HRCE as the NellaiAppar- Kanthimathi temple is under the department’s control. As the third wave of Covid-19 is peaking, Tirunelveli district administration had set up a Covid-19 testing and care centre at the school as a part of preventive measures being taken by the government. But the administration decided to shift the students to the Rahmania Muslim Higher Secondary School, which is said to be a boy’s school, to prevent the students from being exposed to the new variant.
Hindu organisations and BJP sat on protest against this move, expressing fears that it might give opportunities for grooming/love jihad. They also questioned why HRCE run school was chosen when there are many government/corporation schools in the city. Hindu Munnani district secretary Kutralanathan wondered why Christian or diocesan schools were never used for this purpose. He also alleged that Kanthimathi school HM was threatened by education department officials to let the school be used as Covid-19 testing centre.
He accused the officials of threatening to take action against the school staff if they don’t shift the students. He further said, “Did you think no one will question if you take over a school run with temple money? This is a HRCE controlled school run using the money I and other Hindus like me put in hundi. Why do you think parents enroll their kids in this school instead of Rahmania Muslim school which is also nearby? Haven’t they done so to avoid their children becoming Muslims? How can you send them to that school then? You’re aiding love jihad by this act”.
Only Hindus can be appointed in HRCE run schools and thus even teachers would have been vulnerable to love jihad if they’d been shifted to the Muslim school. Thanks to Hindu organisations’ alertness, the district administration has dropped the plan and promised to open another entrance for students and staff to access the school to avoid them from mingling with Covid-19 infected people.
While love jihad incidents haven’t been reported as much in Tamil Nadu, the possibility does exist. In June 2021, a Muslim teacher working in a Muslim school in Ramanathapuram had sexually harassed 9th standard girl students by sending them lewd messages. He obtained their numbers on the pretext of taking online classes during the lockdown.