MNS men vandalize Kalyan school

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 29 Mei 2014 | 22.23

KALYAN: Several Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers, led by party MLA Prakash Bhoir, vandalized Birla School on Wednesday and manhandled its administrator, alleging the school favours Sindhis over Marathis in junior KG admissions.

After examining the school's CCTV footage, the police booked 15 people for rioting, assault and trespassing. They arrested five people - including Bhoir and MNS corporator Ulhas Bhoir - and produced them in a local court. All five were released on bail.

The school management denied Bhoir's allegations of favouritism. Sources said Bhoir came to the school with scores of supporters around 11am on Wednesday and demanded to see the admissions data. They were told to wait for the arrival of the principal, who alone is authorized to access such information.

But after 15 minutes, they went on the rampage. School administrator Vijay Tekawade was kicked, glass panes at the reception were shattered, pieces of furniture were wrecked, and several garden pots were smashed.

Bhoir did not deny the violence. "The school's staff made us wait and did not provide us the details we sought. So, my supporters vandalized their office furniture," said the MLA from Kalyan West. Bhoir alleged he had got complaints over the last few years that "the school was neglecting Marathi students while admitting Sindhi students from Ulhasnagar after taking lakhs in donation".

The school rubbished the accusation. "We have only 128 seats," said O R Chitlangia, the chairman of Birla School management. He explained that after taking into account many factors - such as the preference given to siblings of students - the remaining seats are allotted as per the lottery system laid down in CBSE norms.

"So transparent is our lottery system that we keep the participants' fingerprints. Under this system, 70% admissions are given to aspirants from Kalyan, 20% to Ulhasnagar, and 10% to aspirants from other neighbouring areas," Chitlangia said.

Political observers say the attack indicates that MNS may reuse language politics in the coming assembly polls and to recover from its debacle in the Lok Sabha election. But school sources alleged the violence was triggered following the denial of admission to the son of a party leader's supporter.

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