About 18 months after it shut its doors on an 8-year-old boy suffering from a skin disease, a school in Ahmedabad has promised to take him back, following Gujarat High Court disposal on Tuesday of a petition challenging the denial of admission to him. Ahmedabad-based Ankur school had asked the boy, the son of a Gulberg Society massacre survivor, to leave on the ground that he was suffering from a skin ailment. Had he not been forced to drop out by the school authorities, the boy would have been studying in Class III now.
The father of the boy, Firoz Mohamad Gulzar Pathan, told The Indian Express, “I had to run from pillar to post to get my child back into the school. I was compelled to approach the High Court after my repeated requests before the school authorities, the district education officer (DEO) and the state government failed. I am relieved now that my child will be back in the school.” He said his son stayed at home all these months.
Zahidkhan Murtuzakhan Pathan, president of Ankur School at Paldi, told the court in an affidavit, “…the institution is having no objection to permit the child of the petitioner to attend the school on regular basis from the next academic year and in case of any need of special attention, the institution is ready and willing to arrange for the same and… present petition deserves to be disposed of.”
Following the school’s submission, Justice R M Chhaya disposed of the petition and directed the DEO to depute anofficer when the school reopens on June 6 to ensure that the school sticks to its word. The court also ordered the DEO to file a compliance report on June 18 before it. According to Pathan’s lawyer, Sandeep Bagga, the school authorities removed Pathan’s son on the sole ground that he was suffering from a skin disease. He said that even after submitting medical certificate issued by civil authorities that the ailment was not infectious, the school administration remained unmoved.
“The DEO told me not to pursue the matter anymore because even if the school authorities took my son, he’d be tortured there,” Pathan said. Pathan, who shifted from Gulberg Society after the 2002 riots to Sarkhej area, is still the chairman of the Gulberg Society. He also faces charges in the alleged fund embezzlement case involving Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, among others. Pathan is a star witness in the Gulberg Society massacre case.