Secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Satnarayan Maharaj denies the accusations levelled against his organisation by principal of the Tunapuna Hindu School Sita Gajadharsingh Nanga. Maharaj said yesterday that he never told the principal that black pupils should not be admitted to the primary school. He presented copies of the Annual Statistical Return 2010-2011, Educational Planning Division, Ministry of Education, to the media to justify his position during a press conference at the school located at the corner of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and Pasea Extension in Tunapuna. According to the enrolment by ethnic grouping and sex, of the 516 pupils attending the school, there are 22 Africans; 456 Indians; one Caucasian; 36 Mixed and one Other.
The school has 394 Hindus (Sanatanists); 45 Roman Catholics; 22 Pentecostals, 15 Muslims (ASJA); nine Muslims (TML); seven Presbyterians; six Anglicans; five Seventh-Day Adventists; four Jehovah Witnesses; four Baptist (Spiritual); three Other; one Muslim (TIA) and one Open Bible. On Wednesday, MP for Port-of-Spain North/St Ann's West Patricia McIntosh spoke at great length about the controversy at the school involving the recent barring of Gajadharsingh Nanga on the school compound. McIntosh, who was speaking in the Parliament, quoted from a letter written by Gajadharsingh Nanga to the Teaching Service Commission, listing her reasons for a request for transfer.
The principal wrote: "(Maharaj) told me in no uncertain terms that I must not admit black children into the school and admission lists for both primary and pre-school are being scrutinised to ascertain whether I am following instructions." However, a vociferous Maharaj said Gajadharsingh Nanga's accusations were "totally false." Maharaj also presented two letters of complaints issued to the Teaching Service Commission about the principal; correspondence from the PTA to the principal and several other documents. In a letter signed by Maharaj to the Teaching Service Commission, dated August 10, he stated Gajadharsingh Nanga's behaviour was disruptive and that parents had expressed concern "and we fear that there could be confrontation in the new academic year."
In another letter dated October 10, in response to the commission about the reasons why a transfer was being sought by the principal, Maharaj stated Gajadharsingh Nanga did not institute a programme for infants to learn the religious prayers; removed the dress code sign; attempted to frustrate efforts of the completion of a temple on the school compound and failed to fulfil the oral obligations to the school and the board. Maharaj said the school was formally opened on Spetember 2, 1952, and that the first pupil to be registered was an African called Ernest Smith. He said: "There was never any talk about people are kept out because of race or religion and again I want to remind you, if you go to Laventille you will not see an Indian child in a primary school there" "Why?" he asked. "Because they don't live there."