Last week, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Sujrewala tweeted select images of a 100-point questionnaire that is being given to students who want to take admission in Class XI and XII in private schools in Haryana.
BREAKING! Khattar Govt does it again. Students labelled as 'untouchables' & their parents occupation as 'unclean'.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 10, 2018
The 100-point questionnaire asks students about their caste, religion, if their parents engaged in an ‘unclean occupation’, and if they had any ‘genetic’ disorder. The questionnaire also asks for the applicant and their parents’ Aadhar and bank account details, among other things.
The questionnaire had already been in circulation in government schools, the Education Board of Haryana sent it to private schools only very recently. In response to parents’ objections about the questions, Aditi Misra, the Principal of DPS Sector 45, Gurugram, was quoted in an Indian Express report saying: “The government had asked us to get parents fill out this form. Some parents have been reluctant to share certain details, such as their income or bank account statements. These are details we would not usually ask for. But we have made it clear that if there are objections, they will have to be taken up with the Government of Haryana. We have just been asked to get them filled”.
Sujrewala accused the Manohar Lal Khattar government of trying to surveil the students and their parents by asking for their Aadhar details. He also thought it was ‘absurd’ to call parents’ occupation ‘unclean’.
Rajiv Rattan, the Director of the Haryana Secondary Education, said the Aadhar details were being asked to avoid duplicate cases. The BJP spokesperson Raman Malik defended the questionnaire. He said, “What is wrong in asking for such information? Such details are asked to ascertain whether a student requires medical check-up or special attention. Further, there is no harm in asking details about the caste of the students. By such information, the government can know which community is lacking behind in availing education. It will enable the government to take corrective measures.”
Private schools in the state also protested against the questionnaire. Ram Bilas Sharma, Haryana’s Education Minister, told NDTV that he was not in favour of using the word ‘unclean’ and that they had changed the sentence.