London, Dec 14 (UNI) The United Kingdom's first Hindu state school has been forced to back down on its strict vegetarian-only admissions policy after it was accused of being too strict.
The Krishna-Avanti School in Harrow, north west London, had stipulated that only those who subscribed to its definition of 'practising Hindu candidates' would be accepted in its first annual intake of 30 pupils next September.
But sections of the local community where the school is based and the Hindu Council UK, criticised the admissions policy, saying it ruled out the vast majority of the 15,000 Hindu children living in the borough.
In response, the school - which is expected to be vastly oversubscribed - has decided to leave the responsibility of defining practicing Hindus to the local temples.
Previously, only those who prayed every day, either in the temple or at home, undertook weekly temple-related charity work, participated fortnightly in temple programmes, accepted and put into practice the teachings of the Vedic scriptures and abstained from eating meat, fish and eggs, could apply.
However, the school has now relaxed its definition to include more mainstream Hindus.
In a letter posted on the school website, the I-Foundation, the Hindu charity which sponsors the school said, '' The task of creating an admissions policy for a cross-community Hindu school was never going to be straight forward and because of the widely held expectation that the school will be oversubscribed, it was inevitable that it would be subject to great scrutiny.
'' Please, however, remain assured that the principles behind the Krishna-Avanti school remain the same: to promote core Hindu values while providing a first rate education.'' Anil Bhanot, HCUK's General Secretary, said it was happy with the changes. ''The Hindu faith has a long and commendable tradition of diversity and the admissions policy for the Krishna-Avanti school reflects this. This school is a significant venture for the UK Hindu community,'' he said.