The stand-off forced the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to direct both Goa Police as well as the South Goa district administration to ensure that the HIV-positive students are not denied their right to education.

"We will be meeting the parents to resolve this issue. Not all the parents are supporting the PTA (Parents Teachers Association) which has raised objections," said the commission's chairperson Samira Kazi.

The 13 students, who belong to a children's home called Nitya Seva Niketan located in the mining belt of Rivona in Quepem sub-district, had been enrolled in an open school before the nuns who run the home decided to admit them to a regular school this year.

Attempts made in June to admit the kids to Don Bosco-run school in Sulcorna village, located 50 km from here, also failed due to opposition from parents of students already studying there.

When the news spread about 13 HIV-positive students now being admitted to the Fatima High School in Rivona this month, the PTA at the school vehemently objected to it.

"We do not want them to be granted admission along with our children. We do not want to take chance. If our demands are not met, then we will be boycotting the school and withdrawing our children from there," said Dominic Cardoz, member of the PTA.

"We have given the school a day's ultimatum to take a decision," Cardoz said.


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