Three students from Vilavoorkal Government Higher Secondary School in Thiruvananthapuram were suspended last week for putting up posters in their classroom in support of the Walayar sisters, who were raped and later found dead at their house in 2017.
The plus-two students were summoned by the school principal on Thursday, and asked to bring their parents to school the next day. The school authorities informed their parents that posters were not allowed inside the class, and that the students will be suspended for a week. Later when some of the parents pleaded with the management, the suspension period was reduced to three days; the students cannot enter their classrooms till Wednesday.
One of the posters put up by the students read: “Justice for Walayar Sisters: Those who are supposed to protect, attack. Those who should show you what’s right, did what’s wrong. Those who should pave the way, drag you to the street. Daughter, you are alone.”
Speaking to TNM, the father of one of the suspended students, requesting anonymity, said he was proud of his son and couldn’t understand what the students’ mistake was. “The pictures they drew really stand out. Reading the lines on the poster – I wonder what their fault was,” he said.
"If posters are not allowed in the classroom, they could have just warned the students. Suspending them is just total harassment,” he said, “They are preparing to write their public exams in the next few months, such irresponsible actions will hurt them.”
According to the father, the students were first made to tear their posters, and were suspended even after that. "There was no obscenity in the posters. It was creative, and it came from their young minds,” he said.
Justifying the suspension however, the school principal, Preetha BR, told media persons that the school’s action was not politically motivated, and was only disciplinary action for pasting posters without permission. She was quick to add that though they were all upset about the Walayar case, “government institutions have limitations” when it comes to expressing personal views.
The Walayar case pertains to the alleged rape and murder of two minor girls – sisters – where the accused were acquitted recently by a POCSO court. There are allegations that members of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) supported the accused in the case.