A Christian Headmistress of a government school in Tamil Nadu has refused to hoist the flag. She said that she worships only Jesus and cannot bow her head to anything else. Villagers have filed a complaint against her alleging discriminatory behaviour towards Hindu students.
Tamil Selvi is the Headmistress of a Government Higher Secondary School in Bedarahalli in Dharmapuri district. She was to retire from the job two years ago, but as the government had extended the age limit to 60 years during the Covid-19 pandemic, she is to retire this year. She has been working in the school for the past 4 years. On August 15, as a part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations across the nation, a grand flag hoisting ceremony was organised in the school.
Nearly 500 people including 300 students, their parents and the influential people of the village were present for the event. Tamil Samayam reported that they requested the HM to hoist the flag as a gesture as she is retiring this year. But she refused to hoist the flag saying she cannot offer salutations to anything other than Jesus and won’t salute the flag. Shocked villagers asked the Assistant HM Murugan to hoist the flag.
Later they reportedly requested her to distribute the Thirukkural books as prizes for students who won competitions. But she refused to do that as well. There is a video doing rounds in the media in which she says, “I belong to the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect of Christianity. Our god says that salutations must be given only to him. That’s what the Bible says. But we are bound by laws. We accept the national flag, but won’t salute it. I will pay salutations only to the god I worship. I did not insult the national flag. But my salutations are only for my god. We respect the laws and political parties though.”
Following the incident, villagers have given a complaint to the Chief Educational Officer(CEO) of Dharmapuri district to initiate action against her. Accusations of not providing local holiday for Hindu festivals, not celebrating Samathuva Pongal (people of all faiths cooking pongal together and celebrating without worshipping Hindu deities) and harassing girl students who wear bindi, flowers, etc have also been leveled against her.
In another incident, a Christian teacher defiled the tricolour and hoisted it in his house. Ebin, a teacher working at a private school in Dharapuram near Tiruppur wrote “Bless India Jesus” and tied it to his balcony. Passers-by and neighbours who saw this called the police who booked him for defiling the flag and arrested him.