MP: Stones pelted at school by saffron outfit activists, locals alleging religious conversion of students

By Express News Service

BHOPAL:  Angered over alleged religious conversion of poor children (as being reported in local and social media), saffron outfits activists and local residents stormed into the premises of St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda town of Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district on Monday, pelting stones and damaging property in the Christian missionary school.

The violence by the saffron brigade and local residents inside the school premises happened while the Class XII students were appearing for the Mathematics examination inside the examination hall. While stones pelted by the violent mob damaged the glasses of the school building, the students who were writing their exam inside the classes had a close shave as the broken glass pieces fell in the examination hall. The examinees were shifted in time to another part of the school.

The Class XII students, who were appearing in the exams inside, later said they were in fear after the violence in the school premises. “We were shifted in time to another part of the school after the window glasses started breaking and falling inside due to stone pelting. Our concentration was affected as the exam got disturbed. We want the Mathematics exam to be held again,” the students said.

Saffron outfits activists and local residents stormed into St Joseph School in MP’s Vidisha district, pelted stones on school building and damaged property there, alleging religious conversion by the Christian missionary school. @NewIndianXpress @khogensingh1 @gsvasu_TNIE pic.twitter.com/jbAYvSxqWJ
— Anuraag Singh (@anuraag_niebpl) December 6, 2021
Denying allegations of religious conversion of eight Hindu children either in the school or the associated Church, the school’s head Brother Anthony said the violence had caused loss worth several lakh rupees. “We were apprehensive of such an incident and had informed the local administration and police as well as CBSE regional office in Bhopal in advance about such a possibility, but still the police and administration didn’t act in time.” 

A local Bajrang Dal leader Nilesh Agrawal who was part of the angry and violent mob said the protest was staged following pictures and reports about religious conversion of eight poor Hindu children by the school recently. “We’ve demanded from the state government and local administration to conduct a thorough probe into the matter and bulldoze the school’s building if the school is found indulgent in religious conversion of the eight Hindu children. The school is built on the land donated by a rich landowner Rajesh Mathur for running a medical and health facility, we’ll request him to reclaim the land, if it’s established that the school management was indulgent in religious conversion of children. If a probe by administration establishes that the school is indulgent in religious conversion, then it should be bulldozed by the administration,” Agrawal demanded.

According to Ganj Basoda SDM, Roshan Rai, “a probe has been started into the alleged religious conversion of children by the school and the school management will be questioned in the matter.”

The Vidisha district police superintendent Monika Shukla, who reached the Ganj Basoda town (110 km from MP capital Bhopal) on coming to know about the violence, said the entire matter is under investigation and suitable legal action will be initiated against the wrongdoers.

Importantly, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Priyank Kanoongo had recently written to the Vidisha district collector Umashankar Bhargav to investigate into complaints of religious conversion of eight children on October 31, 2021 by St Joseph Parish in Ganj Basoda town. The Commission had asked the Vidisha district collector to submit action taken report (ATR) in the matter within seven days.