Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday directed the Department of Education to issue a showcause notice to the Ryan International School for allegedly asking teachers and students to take memberships of the BJP. Taking a strict view on the matter, Sisodia has also ordered a probe into the alleged incident. Deputy Director (Education) has been asked to separately conduct an inquiry.
A government official said, “We will also send an advisory to all schools in the capital to desist from any kind of political activity and not to indulge in a forcible membership drive of any political outfit.”
However, the school and the management have denied sending any messages to either the staff or students to take BJP memberships.
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Priya Arora, Principal of Ryan International School in Rohini, said, “We have not sent any messages to our staff or students. We are in full support of the PM and his programmes but we are also educationalists and we do not make anything mandatory for anyone.”
Arora said while the school was promoting the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, “we are not promoting the BJP”.
The alleged messages were sent by a teacher on a WhatsApp group for parents and teachers, at least a week ago, directing parents to call on a toll-free number, 18002662020.
The message also asked parents to report back with the membership ID thus provided.
The school managing director’s office stated that the management uses the school’s web portal or circulars to communicate with teachers. “There is no use of WhatsApp for any communication,” the coordinator said.
However, the school has confirmed that MD Grace Pinto has been working on strengthening the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in all our schools as “she was nominated as one of the navratnas for the abhiyaan”.
Political parties have reacted strongly to the news of BJP trying to gain membership through schools. Condemning the alleged “abuse of power”, NSUI national president Roji John said “schools should be free from political interference of any kind”.
Denying any involvement in the membership drive at Ryan International, Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said, “The party has not approached any institution or individual. However, if the school has started a drive like this, it is its prerogative.”