New Delhi – A top national school, Ryan International, has officially espoused the BJP’s membership drive by urging its teachers and students to enroll with the party. While the school management claims the drive is voluntary, teachers and student say it’s not – in fact, some teachers even claim their salary has been held back pending their joining the party.
Managing director Grace Pinto confirmed the membership drive but said it was “absolutely voluntary”. “It is sad if the staff has said that they were compelled to take up BJP membership. The management never asked students and parents to join BJP,” she said. Delhi BJP Mahila Morcha president Kamaljeet Sehrawat said Pinto is now the Morcha’s national secretary.
Teachers and students as well as parents told Times of India they have received WhatsApp messages giving them a toll-free number, 18002662020, for BJP membership.
A message to the number is answered with a message that gives a primary membership number to the sender. At Ryan, this membership number is to be communicated to the management or designated teachers, it is claimed.
A Ryan staff member at the Rohini school said, “Every staff member, from school gardener to senior teachers, was asked to get 10 members. Forms of the BJP membership were distributed and party’s toll-free number was sent through WhatsApp.”
A parent said, “My daughter told me about the forms being distributed in the school. Last week a message from her class teacher to the WhatsApp group for parents and teachers was sent asking us to call on the (toll-free) number and register. Initially, we thought it had something to do with the school but it turned out that it was for BJP’s membership registration and we didn’t want to register.”
Some teachers at various branches of the school in Delhi said the announcement was made in the morning assembly. “Our March salaries were delayed and the administration staff has been asking us to give the forms, duly filled, back to them so that our salaries can be disbursed,” said a teacher working with Mayur Vihar branch. Teachers at Ryan’s Vasant Kunj and Rohini said the same.
As per Ryan International School website, there are 133 schools across the country with more than 200,000 students. The Group started its first school in Mumbai way back in 1976. A staff member working with Delhi’s Rohini branch said the membership drive is being carried out in all schools of the group.