When Arnazbanu arrived for a function organised by her school to honour Class 10 and Class 12 on Independence Day, she expected to be the first to be called on stage. After all, with a score of 87% in Class 10, she was the topper. That was not to be. In what appears to be a case of deliberate discrimination based on religion, Shri K. T. Patel Smriti Vidyalaya, a school located in Lunwa village of Mehsana district, refused to honour its star student.
Arnazbanu is reported to have returned home in tears. Her father, Sanwar Khan, a resident of Lunava village, expressed his distress over the incident, stating, “She told us that the award which should have been hers was bestowed upon a student who secured the second position. I engaged with school authorities and teachers seeking an explanation, but their responses were vague at best. While they assure us that the reward will be given on January 26, my question remains – why was it not granted on August 15? As a farmer deeply rooted in this land, our family has lived here for generations without encountering any form of discrimination. But now my daughter has deliberately been overlooked for an award she deserved.”
Bipin Patel, the principal of Shri K. T. Patel Smriti Vidyalaya, spoke exclusively to Vibes Of India, saying, “Our school maintains a strict policy against any form of discrimination. Rest assured, the deserving student will receive her reward on January 26th. It’s noteworthy that she was absent on the designated day, which hindered the presentation.”
Sanwar Khan contests this, saying, “Contrary to the principal’s assertion, my daughter did attend school on that day. The school is equipped with CCTV cameras, which can provide the necessary clarification.”
The incident has sparked a wave of discontent among activists and citizens on various social media platforms. In a tweet, author Salil Tripathi said, “This is the state of Modi-fied India.”
Anil Patel, a teacher at the school, says, “The August 15 event was a minor celebration to acknowledge the achievements of our students. The rewards will be formally given on January 26, encompassing those who exhibited exceptional talents. We remain committed to addressing any grievances and acknowledging the efforts of all our students.”
The incident has raised broader questions about equal treatment and respect for academic achievements, particularly in the context of the Prime Minister’s message of “Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter”.