Kerala Education Minister C Raveendranath has informed the State Assembly that 1.25 lakh students in the state did not mention their religion in the forms filled during school admission.
The minister was responding to a written query from CPI(M) legislator D K Murali, who had enquired how many students from standards I to XII had obtained admission without filling the columns for religion and caste. In the reply submitted on March 26, the education minister said that from standard I to X, as many as 1,23,630 students had opted to leave the two columns blank, while as many as 278 students of standard XI and 239 of standard XII had left the two columns blank while taking admission to schools. He also said that none of the students in the vocational higher secondary schools had left these columns blank.
Last week, footballer C K Vineeth had opted to leave the religion column vacant while obtaining a birth certificate for his son. He had stated that his son should be free to choose his religion, if he wished to have one.
In 2008, then CPI(M)-led government had sparked a controversy after a social science textbook meant for class VII was alleged to preach atheism. The chapter was withdrawn.