17:09, July 3, 2010
Hetq’s article regarding the unfolding drama at the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy in Calcutta (Armenian College in Calcutta Under Lock-Down; Students Blame Etchmiadzin Designated Director) elicited a wide range of reactions from readers.
Many wrote in criticizing Hetq for the article but I must say that many of these negative comments came from the same IP address, i.e. they were writing in from the College in an organized and periodic fashion.
Students at the College, with who we are in touch, have identified the two individuals responsible. We will cover this aspect of the fallout of the story and other issues in the future. Let me just note that we are even aware of the meal menu served to students at the College as well as steps taken by the school administration in response to the original incident.
The information contained in the article was from students at the College and the photos were from a member of the staff working under Director Father Khoren Hovhannisyan. Naturally, we cannot identify the students and staff members at the College with whom Hetq has been in touch with for all these years.
Before publishing the article we contacted the Mother See at Etchmiadzin for its side of the story. We received a response the next day. To say that there are no problems at the College would be the height of naiveté. If there were no problems Father Khoren would not have called in the Indian police. That he was forced to do so suggests that the College staff aren’t doing their job correctly.
Pay close attention to the following section of the response sent by the College’s Information Service - At the time of the departure of the said student, a few fellow students put up a stiff resistance, threatening violent consequences if their friend went away. Sensing that there could be a breach of peace in school which will be harmful to one and all, the police was requested to maintain peace on campus, only in case of an eventuality.
What exactly does "stiff resistance" mean? Can you imagine such a situation in any school? Was there a brawl? Did the students erect barricades?
Let’s look at the story from the other side; what steps had the College administrators taken for the students to put up "stiff resistance"?
The dismissed student had only a few months left to graduate. They kicked him out after twelve years of study at the College. Doesn’t such a step justify "stiff resistance"? The students had rallied round in defense of their friend. This is a very welcomed response.
And what does Father Khoren do in response? Rather than correcting the mistake he calls the police in. This just might become routine for Father Khoren, given that students might rally for a second and third time in the name of justice. While he call in the police on those occasions as well? Just picture police cars being called in at the Gevorgyan Seminary in Etchmiadzin every time students raise a grip or have an issue to be resolved.
The issue at the College must be investigated in quick order and certain decisions made. We just hope that dismissing students will be seen as part of the solution.
Dear Vlad, Stella, Souren, Mourad, Hayk, Sevak, Narineh, Vartuhi, and others leaving comments under assumed names, I even know which rooms at the Calcutta College you are writing from. But that’s not important.
You have the right to criticize Hetq. Everyone has the right to free expression. But when you are writing in under various aliases, at least have the sense not to use the same computer. Before passing judgement on others, ponder for a moment that you are engaged in your own falsehood whilst sitting in the confines of a religious institution, tapping away at your computer. Just remember, you then use those same hands to pray with.