Britain has announced that it would provide 9.8 million pounds for setting up of the first state-funded Hindu school in the country.
The school, to be set up in indian-dominated Harrow in northwest London by 2010, will be run by the I-Foundation, a religious partner of the International Society of Krishna Conciousness (Hare Krishna) movement.
Britain already has state-funded schools for Muslims and Sikhs. "We are delighted at the government's decision. This paves the way for the first Hindu faith school in the UK. Our intent is to ensure that the school is fully integrated and working in synergy with the local community and schools," Nitesh Gor from the I-Foundation said Friday.
Harrow Council leader Navin Shah said Harrow has a significantly large Hindu population -- nearly 20% -- the highest percentage of any local authority in Britain.
"The groundbreaking news has tremendous significance to our large Hindu community in Harrow. I am proud of Harrow's multicultural community and the faith school will meet the well demonstrated needs and aspirations of the Hindu community," he said.
A spokesman for the council said it would begin the consultation process soon, but added that the location of the school was commercially sensitive.
Ramesh Kallidai, secretary-general of the Hindu Forum of which the I-Foundation is a part, said the next step would be to have state-funded Hindu schools in other parts of the UK where large Hindu populations lived and worked.
"This is the beginning, not the end," he said adding, "Brent, in northwest London has the second highest concentration of Hindus, after which comes the city of Leicester."