A couple in Tamil Nadu has got a 'no religion, no caste' certificate for their three-and-a-half-year old daughter, Vilma. Naresh Karthik and his wife Gayatri approached several schools for their daughter to get admitted to Kindergarten and to put the religion and caste column blank.
Naresh, who is the founder of Seedreaps Educational and Charitable Trust, told media persons that he and his wife Gayatri do not want to confine their child under any religion or caste. He said, "for our daughter, god means love and love means equality. Educational institutions should teach love and equality to students."
He said that when he approached several schools to admit his daughter, the application form did not have a 'no religion, no caste' column.
Naresh said, "The schools we approached said that the religion and caste column is a must and that they cannot accept the application without these columns filled."
The young couple was however not aware that there was a government order of 1973 that states that religion and caste are not mandatory during admission of their children in schools.
The Tamil Nadu state education department had in two separate orders of 1973 and 2000 directed the Director of School Education to allow people to mention, 'no religion, no caste' or to leave the religion and caste columns blank, provided the parents don't want the religion and caste to be mentioned in the Secondary school leaving certificate and the transfer certificate.
Naresh approached Coimbatore District Collector, G.S. Sameeran who directed him to Tahsildar of Coimbatore North. He asked him to file an affidavit in stamp paper stating that he was aware that applying for a 'no religion, no caste' certificate would make her ineligible for any government reservation or privileges based on caste and religion.
He said that after he obtained an attestation from the notary and submitted the affidavit to the Coimbatore North Tahsildar, he got a 'no religion, no caste' certificate for his daughter.
The certificate, according to Naresh read -- "Baby Vilma does not belong to any caste or religion".
He said that parents are not aware that a 'no religion, no caste' certificate can be obtained and expects that more parents would come forward to get such a certificate and that he strongly believes that God is love.