Did this Kerala college principal really ask a student to fall at her feet? Here's the truth

At a press conference on Wednesday, MSF state president P K Navas alleged that Dr Rema humiliated a second-year BA Economics student by forcing him to fall at her feet
Pic: EdexLive
Pic: EdexLive

The Muslim Students Federation (MSF) — the students' wing of the IUML — has accused the principal-in-charge of Kasaragod Government College of forcing a student to fall at her feet and apologise for threatening her. Principal in-charge Dr Rema M has dismissed the charge as a political stunt. 

At a press conference on Wednesday, MSF state president P K Navas alleged that Dr Rema humiliated a second-year BA Economics student by forcing him to fall at her feet by threatening to slap a police case on him. The alleged incident happened at the principal's chamber on October 18. "We filed complaints with the chief minister and the police chief but there is not even an inquiry on the incident," he said. 

According to the student's friends, the principal targeted him for not wearing a mask on campus. "It is true that he was not wearing a mask. But many others were not wearing masks but she picked on him," said a close friend of the student. Later, on October 18, when he reached the college, his friends told him that the principal was planning to file a police complaint against him. "So he went to the principal's office but she was rude towards him and accused him of being the troublemaker of the college. The principal then asked him to bring his other three "troublemaking friends" to the chamber," the friend said. 

When he returned with the friends, the principal allegedly made him fall at his feet and apologise. "Not once but thrice. That's when the friends took a photograph. The footage from the CCTV camera in the principal's room can be checked," said Jabir Shibin, the president of MSF's unit in the college. Shibin accused the principal of particularly targeting MSF. "On the Fresher's Day, all students' organisations had put up bunting on the campus. But the principal personally removed only the bunting of the MSF," he said. 

"Yes, I target MSF because they are the only ones who are violating the rules on the campus, Dr Rema said in a light voice. She said the MSF and the BA Economics student were economical with the truth. She said the MSF had put up bunting on the mast for the National Flag to welcome the freshers on Monday. "They (MSF students) made a small tent with their bunting around the flag pole," she said. But two NCC officers, who visited the campus on Monday, took exception to it. "They said don't insult the National Flag even if you are not honouring it," Dr Rema said. 

Later, when collector Bhandari Swagat Ranveerchand came to the campus, she too pointed it out. "I assured the collector that the bunting will be removed by 5 pm," she said. At 5 pm, only the ABVP removed its bunting from the campus. At 8 pm, the principal removed the bunting from the National Flag mast because the MSF did not do it. "The student tried to assault me," said Dr Rema. 

On forcing the student to fall at her feet and apologise, Dr Rema said it is a trumped-up charge. "Do you think a student who will not listen to me when I ask him to wear a mask will fall at my feet on my saying," she said. The principal said the student raised his hand to slap her when she asked him to wear a mask on October 15, a Friday. She immediately called in the police. "The police took him away to the station and slapped a fine on him for not wearing a mask," Dr Rema said. "The police also told me to send my complaint if I intend to press charges," she said. 

But that evening, several of his relatives and leaders of MSF called the principal on her phone and even visited her house to change her mind. They said he is not even 20 years and a police complaint will criminalise him. "They said he is ready to apologise for the misdemeanour," she said. On Monday (October 18), he and his friends came to my room and he fell at my feet. His friends must have taken the photograph then to use it against me, she said. When asked if she would be pressing charge against the student, she said, "No. I am a teacher. I will not ruin a student's life."

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