The question also asked students to “suggest a few measures to thwart such violent maniacs who act under external instigation.”
DAV Boys Senior Secondary School, Gopalapuram in Chennai has found itself in controversy after it referred to the farmers as “violent maniacs who act under external instigation” and used phrases like “diabolical violence” and “rampage” to describe the events that unfolded during a tractor rally on Republic Day as a part of the farmers protest. The terms were mentioned in a question paper set for the students of class 10 as part of their second revision examinations held on February 11th.
The students were told to write a 100-120 word letter to the editor of a newspaper in their English revision exam paper, according to the reports. The question paper shared by TM Krishna on social media has stirred an online controversy, with users congratulating the school and criticizing the school for trying to influence student’s minds against the farmers’ protest.
Drafted under Section B of the examination paper, the question read: “The diabolical violence that broke out in the national capital on Republic Day filled the hearts of the citizens with condemnation and abhorrence after the farm law protesters went on a rampage destroying public property and attacking police personnel in broad daylight. Write a letter to the Editor of a daily newspaper in your city, condemning such terrible, violent acts of miscreants who fail to realise that country comes before personal needs and gains.”
It further continued, “Destroying public property, disgracing the national flag, and attacking police personnel are a few of the various illegal offences committed, that can never be justified for any reason whatsoever. Suggest few measures from your end to thwart such violent maniacs who act under external instigation.”
Several people took to Twitter to express their outrage over the politically controversial nature of the question after an image of the section of the question paper was widely being circulated on social media, since it was not immediately clear to which school the question paper belonged. The incident has then triggered discussions on social media with users criticizing the school over condemning the farmers.
Further, a group of DAV Boys School alumni called the question ‘inappropriate’ and ‘disappointing’ in a letter to the school principal and the management beside reminding the school of the ten principles of the Arya Samaj that is engraved on a stone on the school campus.
DAV school found itself in legal trouble, as per the New Indian Express, lawyer Harpreet Singh Hora sent a legal notice to the Tamil Nadu Arya Samaj Education Society (TNASES), under which the DAV Boys School operates, seeking an apology from the school. The notice highlighted the derogatory terms used in the paper against the farmers while stating that the apex court recognises the right to peaceful protest.
“You have stated that the ‘farm law protesters’ went on a ‘rampage’ destroying public property and attacking police personnel in broad daylight’ whereas it is well known that the said issue is subject of an investigation by the Delhi Police and thus, any such act of yours solely intends to create interference in the said investigation,” says the legal notice sent behalf of Jaswinder Singh, a member of Chief Khalsa Diwan.
The DAV group of schools responded to the controversial question quoted in their question paper soon a day after a group of alumni sent letters to the school and TNASES. “We have received feedback from various stakeholders – parents, alumni, teachers and the general public. Furthermore, the school said, “it does take pride in constantly striving towards making education relevant, contemporary and contextual.” The response also added that the schools “believes in the need to nurture independent thinking amongst children and also abide…by the Indian constitution.”
Since 9th August 2020, Farmers are on the streets protesting at Delhi borders against the three controversial farm laws passed by the Centre in September 2020. The ongoing protest by the farmers against the new agricultural laws since they believe it will leave them poorer and at the mercy of corporations. The police at the borders have constructed barbed-wire fences, barricades to stop the protesting farmers from entering the capital of India, Delhi.