Mumbai school principal told to resign over posts on Hamas-Israel conflict: Report

Parveen Shaikh, who has been with the school in Vidyavihar for 12 years and became its principal 7 years back, has refused to quit, stating, 'I have given hundred per cent to the organisation.'
Last Updated : 02 May 2024, 06:59 IST
Last Updated : 02 May 2024, 06:59 IST

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The principal of Mumbai's Somaiya School was asked by the management to resign, allegedly over her posts on X (formerly Twitter) on the Palestine issue and the Israel-Hamas conflict, The Indian Express reported.

Parveen Shaikh, who has been with the school in Vidyavihar for 12 years, and became its principal 7 years back has refused to quit, stating "I have given hundred per cent to the organisation."

OpIndia, the web portal, had on April 24 published a report which highlighted Shaikh's likes and comments via her X handle on pro-Palestine posts, and some posts sympathetic to Hamas.

Shaikh confirmed to IE that management called her after the report came out.

"In a meeting held on April 26, the management told me that it is a tough decision for them to make, but this association was no longer tenable and they asked me to resign… I continued to work over the following days, but there was covert and overt pressure from management representatives to coerce me into resigning," she said, adding, "I live in democratic India; I hold the principle of freedom of speech in high regard as it is a cornerstone of democracy. It is unimaginable that my expression would provoke such a malicious response, furthering their biased agenda."

Shaikh noted that the management has always remained positive and supportive, acknowledging her role in the school's growth and success, and are happy with her work. "They say this is a difficult decision for them," Shaikh told the publication.

Shaikh said she was unaware of the OpIndia report till management informed her of the same, remarking that the portal's interest in a school principal was 'puzzling', and that she had not been contacted before the report was put out.

While there is no formal protocol or official policy when it comes to political remarks made in public by Somaiya institution employees, as per Shaikh, at a meeting in March it was clarified that "employees are permitted to express their personal views on their private social media accounts, provided they clearly state that these are personal opinions," she told IE.

A spokesperson for the trust did not comment on Shaikh's statement that she'd been asked to resign, but told IE that the trust was maintaining its earlier statement: "We were unaware of the sentiments expressed until it was brought to our notice today (April 24). We do not agree with such sentiments. It is certainly concerning. We are looking into the matter."

IE reported that some parents of students there have reached out to the Trust, expressing support for Shaikh with one parent commenting that her views on certain subjects don't make a difference.

Published 02 May 2024, 06:59 IST

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