The Karnataka government has stopped grants to two schools belonging to prominent RSS leader Prabhakar Bhat popularly called Kalladka Bhat. Close to 2,000 students are now deprived of benefits that they had been receiving since 2007. Students and parents have accused the Congress of indulging in 'political vendetta.
Sri Rama high school in Kalladka and Sri Devi school at Punacha had been receiving grants from Kollur Mookambika temple under its adoption scheme since 2007. Now, the Congress government in Karnataka has passed an order revoking financial assistance to the schools. The unilateral decision has rendered more than 2,000 students helpless.
On Friday, students of both schools protested against the government and its decision that is depriving them of assistance that their school had been receiving for a decade now. "Why is the government destroying our lives? Is this government not cheating us? We get free food, uniform and books because of the assistance and the government wants to snatch it away from us," said one of the protesting students.
Hundreds of students and parents gathered outside the taluk office at B C Road on Friday and shouted slogans against the government. Parents categorically alleged that the schools were being targeted since they belonged to Prabhakar Bhat. "Since 2007, financial assistance from Kollur temple is being extended to the school with government's permission. What is the meaning of withdrawing it suddenly? Why target the children if they want to get back at Bhat?" asked a parent.
Under the adoption program, the schools had been receiving free lunch, uniform and text books since 2007 from the temple. The temple is administered by the endowments department. For a decade, the school had been receiving funds but all of a sudden, the Karnataka government has claimed that a private institution cannot be adopted by a temple.
"About 94 per cent of students belong to poor, backward classes, scheduled castes, tribes and minorities. 52 schools in the state are getting grants in this fashion but only these two schools have been targeted," said parents. They insisted that the crackdown was politically motivated given the rivalry between Congress leader and Karnataka Minister Ramanath Rai and RSS leader Bhat.
Protesters alleged that the state government was committing atrocities on a Kannada school and this 'inhuman initiative of the government' was a violation of Right to education. They have urged that the order cancelling assistance to the schools be withdrawn.