The two-dozen children of Kurukkankundu colony in Attappady who staged a satyagraha demanding online education facility on Sunday last were apparently instigated by their parents to get electricity to their homes.
Students of Mount Carmel High School, Jellippara, the children had said that they could not attend a single online class as they had no power connection and mobile connectivity.
Education officials in the district disputed the children’s claims, and said that they had reached out to the children with the best available options to ensure online education for them soon after the schools reopened in online mode.
“We set up two television sets with solar panels at Kurukkankundu. We are ready to support them with laptops as well, if they want. In fact, we reached out to the remotest hamlet of Upper Galasi by travelling 18 km on foot through the forests. The children of Kurukkankundu shocked us by staging a satyagraha,” said C.P. Vijayan, Attappady block coordinator of the Samagra Siksha Kerala (SSK).
It was social activist Uma Preman who arranged an LED TV set and an eight-hour capacity solar panel through her organisation named Santhi Medical Mission. Yet the children staged the protest and according to the authorities, they were “used” by their parents to press their long-pending demand for power connection.
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has been refusing to give power to the colony, as the settler families living there were engaged in a wrangle with the Forest Department over land rights. The families claim right over the land showing the title deeds they got in the 1970s. But according to the Forest Department, they are living in grabbed land.
Resentment is brewing in the Education Department over the action of the parents in making their children go for a strike ‘by telling a lie’. “Actually, they used the children for another cause. Getting electricity connection is important. But it is sad that they lied for that cause,” said Mr. Vijayan.
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