A school in Balrampur is up in arms since the district administration informed them Saturday that their playground will now be used to build a ‘gaushala’ (cow shelter) as it is part of a government plot.
While officials of Fazl-e-Rahmaniya Inter College School — located in Pachperwa village of Tulsipur tehsil — claimed that the 2.5 acre plot is registered under its name, the district administration said the land belongs to the gram sabha, and warned that an FIR would be lodged against the school administration if it is not vacated.
Mohd Ismail, principal of the government-aided school, said, “During a visit to Balrampur in 1977, N D Tewari had donated the land to the school after he was impressed by the students’ performance. We have been using this land for more than 40 years. It is registered in the school’s name in Khasra Khatauni documents,” he told The Indian Express.
“We have written to the district magistrate. We were not even served a notice regarding construction of the gaushala. The school has around 1,500 students from different sections of society and they will suffer if they lose their playground,” he added.
However, Ramesh Chandra, Lekhpal for Pachperwa area, said, “The land belongs to the gram sabha and we have measured it. We will file a police complaint against the school if they refuse to vacate the land.”
Tulsipur Sub-Divisional Magistrate Vishal Yadav claimed that the land was being used by the school because it had been lying vacant for several years. “Many schools do this, students start using nearby land for sports and games. The land does not belong to the school,” he added.
Yadav also alleged that the school principal’s primary objective was to “usurp the land”. Asked about the issue, District Inspector of Schools Mahendra Kumar said he was not aware of it, adding that such a dispute does not fall within his jurisdiction. Abul Kazim Khan, who has been teaching at the school for 11 years, said, “We held a peaceful protest Saturday. We will hold another one on Monday where almost all students will participate with teachers. The government should not let the education of children get affected in this way.”
The manager of the school, Shariq Rizvi, claimed there were several other vacant plots in the village. “The authorities can build the gaushala anywhere. Why are they taking away land which is being used by the school? Several of our students have represented the state in sports, two had recently represented Uttar Pradesh in volleyball. Why should the administration take away career opportunities from them?” he asked.
District Magistrate Krishna Karunesh could not be reached for comment.