At a time when Parents Teacher Associations (PTAs) of some schools in Rivona, Goa were demonstrating against the induction of HIV+ children in schools, Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar over the weekend took time-out to visit the children of the church-run Nitya Seva Niketan orphanage, several of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS to shared a meal with over 30 children.
“I will provide all the support for these children. I am here to eradicate the belief that HIV spreads through touching or sharing meal,” Parrikar expressed.
The Chief Minister had last month announced in the Legislative Assembly about sharing food with HIV-affected children.
“I will eat from a common plate with an HIV-positive child to prove my belief that the disease is not transmittable (by casual contact). If HIV were spread by physical contact then every human being would test positive. It does not spread like a common cold,” he had said.
A school had rejected admission to 13 orphans with HIV/AIDS from the the Nitya Seva Niketan, following pressure from the Parents Teachers Association that objected to their wards intermingling with these children.
The stubborn resistance of the parents to deny admission to 23 other orphans, on mere suspicion they were HIV+ve, triggered an unprecedented stand-off with the unyielding parents on the one side and the school administration and the government on the other.