BHOPAL: A day after a missionary school was attacked allegedly by right-wing Hindu workers and local residents in Ganj Basoda town, Christian religious leaders highlighted their concern to Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday.
‘‘As Indians, we take pride in our country’s unique culture of unity in diversity. In the 75th year of Independence, when we are celebrating Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsava, some institutions of our community have come under attack by anti-social elements. This pains us and makes our people feel insecure and unsafe. We raised the issue with the home minister. He assured us appropriate action in the matter,”
Archbishop of Bhopal Archdiocese AAS Durairaj said, after meeting the minister. On Monday, right-wing activists and local residents barged into St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda town, about 110 km from Bhopal, and pelted stones and vandalised property.
The school managed to safely shift its Class XII students who were writing their Mathematics exam.
While right-wing outfits had claimed that the church and school did religious conversion of eight poor Hindu children, the education institute has refuted the allegation.
In a letter to the Vidisha district collector, the church has denied allegations of religious conversion.
It claimed rituals which were performed on eight Christian children were like ‘Janeu Sanskar’ in Hinduism on October 30. It also called for an investigation to find out the truth.
Later, Mishra said that a case of rioting was lodged by the police against the perpetrators of Sunday’s incident. Four persons were detained in Ganj Basoda town of Vidisha district, he added.
Police have detained four persons in connection with vandalism and ruckus.
Police on Monday registered a case of rioting against unidentified persons after the incident which occurred on the premises of Saint Joseph School in Ganjbasoda, some 105 km from Bhopal, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The education institute had denied the charge of religious conversion.
"The type and nature of Ganjbasoda incident is different. Four persons have been detained and directions were issued that such incidents should be prevented from recurring," Mishra told reporters.
He reiterated that all places (like one at Ganjbasoda), PFI (Popular Front of India) and NGOs which are using foreign funding for religious conversion are under investigation.
The right-wing organisations had accused the Saint Joseph Church and school of indulging in religious conversion, a charge denied by the educational institute.
Eyewitnesses had said on Monday that stones were hurled at the school building during the ruckus.
A school management spokesman had said that after getting the information about the protest through the media, the local administration was intimated in advance about the possible disturbance.
But the people started gathering and stones were pelted which damaged the school property, he had claimed while denying all charges of religious conversion.
The students were present for the examination in the school when the incident occurred, he said.
Madhya Pradesh Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) office-bearer Nilesh Agrawal had told PTI on Monday that they had only organised a peaceful protest outside the school and later submitted a memorandum to the local administration.
He had denied any role of the protesting outfits in the disturbance at the institute.
In a memorandum submitted to the local administration after the protest, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal, the Hindu Jagran Manch and other right-wing organisations accused the school management of converting eight students to Christianity.
In the memorandum, these outfits accused the school management and the church associated with it of forcing students to not apply 'tilak' (a coloured mark) on the forehead and wear 'kalawa' (a sacred thread worn by Hindus on the wrist).
It was also alleged students are forced to say prayers of Christianity.
In a letter written to the Vidisha district collector on Sunday, the Saint Joseph Church had denied all allegations of religious conversion and claimed rituals which were performed on eight Christian children were like 'Janeu Sanskar' in Hinduism (related to wearing a white, sacred thread) on October 30.
The church also called for an investigation to find out the truth.
(With PTI Inputs)
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