Shocked at parents' protest against HIV students: Manohar Parrikar

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday expressed shock at the manner in which parents of students of a village school blockaded the school protesting admissions to HIV positive orphaned students.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar

Addressing the audience during the inauguration of the state legislative forum, Parrikar said myths surrounding the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) needed to be dispelled, especially misconceptions like HIV spreads by sharing food.

"The Rivona incident should open our eyes. I sat up instantly. How can parents behave like this? That was my question...What is the guarantee that the children of those protesting parents do not have it (HIV)..." Parrikar said.

Last month, a Church-run school in Rivona, a village located over 50 km from Panaji, was the centre of controversy after its parents-teachers association tried to first block the entry of 13 HIV positive students and later 23 other students who they suspected of having HIV.

While the association managed to ensure that the 13 HIV students were shifted out by the school management, the parents failed to block the 23 other students from getting admission.

In retaliation, over two dozen parents from the association opted to withdraw their wards from the school over the last couple of weeks.

Parrikar said it was imperative to dispel myths surrounding HIV.

"That is why I said I am ready to share food (with HIV patients) because that is not the way it spreads. Who knows what happens when we go to restaurants. Do you know who all come there and whether they have AIDS certificates pasted on their foreheads. Let us wipe off this unnecessary stigma. Let us not become a regressive society," Parrikar said.

The purpose of the legislative forum on HIV AIDS is to mobilize political will and financial support for the issue of HIV.

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