Angered by inaction against conversion, Hindus of Ganj Basoda threw stones at a Christian school in Madhya Pradesh. The school had allegedly converted 8 poor Hindu children, a video of which went viral in social media. NCPCR had directed the district administration to look into the issue. Some of the locals who were protesting in front of the school reportedly threw stones at the building.
Hindus of Ganj Basoda in Vidisha who got angered by the news that 8 poor Hindu children were converted to Christianity by St.Joseph School run by the Diocese of Sagar, went to protest in front of the school. Allegedly Hindu organisations organised the protest and went to give a memorandum to the school administration. However the protest turned ugly as some of the protestors pelted stones at the building.
The situation became worse as the 12th standard students were writing Math exam at that time. However they were taken to safety and only glasses were broken. However VHP functionary Nilesh Agrawal who is said to have led the protest told Times of India that they had only organised a peaceful protest and denied Hindu outfits role in hurling stones at the school.
Along with the members of Shree Maharana Rajput Samiti, the Ahirwar Samaj and the Kayasth Samaj of Ganjbasoda VHP submitted a memorandum to the collector of Vidisha on December 4 to investigate the incident of conversion of 8 children on October 31. The memorandum sought an inquiry into conversion activities by St.Joseph School and the church associated with it. Hindu organisations accused the school of not allowing its students to apply tilak or wear kalawa and forcing them to recite Christian prayers.
After the video went viral the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights wrote to the district collector asking to conduct an inquiry. Various media reported the school administration has denied allegations of conversion. School Manager Brother Antony told the Hindustan Times that “A letter was circulated in the name of our school that eight Hindu students have been converted to Christianity. The names of the students mentioned in the letter do not study here”.
However in the letter written to the district collector, “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 Times of India reported. While the school management on one hand denies that the children study in their school, the church admitted that they were undergoing baptism. The contradictory claims raise suspicions.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA Umakant Sharma accused St.Joseph school of not allowing aarti of Bharat Mata and wearing Hindu tilak, kalawa, shika, etc and making them to offer Christian prayers. Alleging that the school is an aided minority institution, such acts are condemnable and a violation of constitution. Pointing out that the fee paid by Hindu parents helps the missionaries run the school, he said that brainwashing Hindu children against Hindu dharma is not acceptable. Non-Hindu institutions are provided financial help by the central government to build institutions under the discriminatory IDMI scheme.
Journalists tried to guilt trip the MLA about the stone pelting but the MLA kept his cool and said, “Hindutvawadi organisations have always put forth their points peacefully. It is anti-national promoting Congress which has sent their Goonda elements to create disturbance”. The school management says that they informed the police about the protest but they didn’t provide protection which led to the incident. However the inconsistency of their claims about the children raises suspicions as to whether it is a Delhi church window attack incident.
In 2018 a series of accidental incidents in churches were twisted into an attack on the Christian community under the BJP government. Even the Prime Minister had to bow to the propaganda and tweet about it. However later it was proved that they were unconnected accidental events. Coming back to the MP school incident 4 persons have been arrested so far and the Home Minister of the state has assured of action to the diocese representatives who met him.
Now Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is set to visit the school. Recently NCPCR Chairman Priyak Kanoongo had personally inspected a Christian hostel in Sagar, MP where he found evidence for religious teachings and conversion. Bibles were found under the beds of Hindu children. Violations of the Juvenile Justice Act were also found and the child welfare officials were directed to send the children back to their parents. The Chairman has been facing the ire of missionaries as he is continuously exposing violations in Christian institutions so the possibility of the incident being orchestrated to defame him.
In other news, Chhattisgarh BJP MP Gomati Sai had said in parliament that Christian missionaries are more dangerous than Naxals and a threat to internal security. This incident where missionaries’ unabated conversion activities have spread discontent among the public and resulted in such an outburst.
If they are not converting Hindus outright, Christian run institutions are known to brainwash children into thinking that Hindu dharma is regressive but Christianity is a cool charitable religion. If children are asked to respect the religion of the institution, then the same respect should be shown to the other religions followed by the children as well. It cannot be a one way street.