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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 21:23 GMT
School gives vegetarians priority
A father and child at a Hindu festival
About 40,000 Hindus live in the borough of Harrow
Vegetarians will be given priority for places at the UK's first Hindu state school, it has been announced.

The Krishna-Avanti school in Harrow, north-west London, will give places first to pupils whose parents follow Hindu teachings such as vegetarianism.

But the Hindu Council UK criticised the plan, warning it would result in many Hindu children being excluded.

School promoter, charity I-Foundation, said it was in line with admission policies at other faith schools.

The school is expected to open next year, and is likely to receive a large number of applications from the UK's 1.5m Hindus, 40,000 of whom live in the London Borough of Harrow.

We believe it is unfair to rule out other Hindus by imposing on them the strict rules of one particular, minority Hindu group
Hindu Council UK's Jay Lakhani

I-Foundation said the school's admissions policy was intended to mirror those used by other faith schools that are oversubscribed.

Director Nitesh Gor said: "In common with other faith schools - which may require letters from priests or proof of church or synagogue attendance - we want to give priority to those that are most active in their faith.

"The definition we have arrived at includes regular home and temple worship, as well as vegetarianism and avoiding alcohol.

"We will, of course, welcome applications from any Hindu however they practice their belief and will welcome them at the school as places allow."

But the Hindu Council UK said the policy could exclude most Hindu children.

Jay Lakhani, the council's director for education, said: "We believe it is unfair to rule out other Hindus by imposing on them the strict rules of one particular, minority Hindu group in order for their children to attend."

The council, which has previously backed the school, called for a meeting to discuss the admissions plans.

First Hindu state school to open
11 Sep 07 |  Education
First UK Hindu school in London
12 Oct 05 |  London

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