Muslim League leader and Kerala Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb on Tuesday came out against the practice of boys and girls sitting next to each other in college campus, but welcomed if they are sitting in separate chairs.
The minister was reacting to the recent controversy over the suspension of a student at Muslim-run Farook College in Kozhikode who protested against the management decision to crack down on the boys and girls sitting next to each other in their class. Later, the high court had suspended the decision of the college, an autonomous institution.
Rabb said he was against the girls and boys sitting next to each other. “At the same time, they can sit so using chairs. They can sit next to each other in the same bench, if the institutions and students do not have any complaint. I don’t think there was gender discrimination at Farook College in this regard,” he said.
At Farook College, nine students including girls were asked to quit class after they were found sitting on the same bench. While eight students reported back to the college with their guardians after being asked to do so, one student Dinu K refused to budge and defied the management’s diktat. Subsequently, the college suspended him pending a probe.
Last week, the High Court stayed the suspension for a month. The student, in his petition, pointed out that the strength of the class is 130 and two students who came to class late had seats vacant only in a bench where three girl students were seated. They occupied the seat, but the teacher asked them to sit separately or to leave the class.
The issue had created widespread protest in the college.