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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Hindu boy beaten by Christian priest for skipping school to attend ritual

A Hindu boy was beaten by a Christian school principal for taking leave to participate in a ritual. The boy hadn’t intimated prior about taking leave and was beaten by the Catholic priest. He had to be admitted to hospital as the injuries were severe. Later he was forced to post a video saying that there is no religious intolerance in the school.

Arun Jayam, a 16 year old boy studies in the Mother Theresa Matriculation school in Kanyakumari. His brother had undertaken vrat for taking Kavadi(a form of kawariya) and piercing Alagu(a spear is pierced from one chin to another or pierced on the tongue). As he went on a yatra to Tiruchendur to break the vrat. Arun and his widowed mother accompanied him on the journey.

Arun had taken leave on February 24 to undertake the journey and it appears he didn’t inform the school in advance. When he returned after 2 days, he was beaten by Robinson, the parish priest of Mylacode and the Principal of the school. The priest asked him, “From whom did you take permission to go to the temple? Get your TC and get lost. I won’t let you write exams. Don’t you dare tell anyone that I beat you or I’ll make you disappear” and beat him with a cane. 

Arun sustained injuries on his hands and legs but didn’t tell anyone about the abuse as he had a practical exam the next day and feared the priest might bar him from taking it. He fell ill the next evening and only then his mother noticed the injuries on his limbs. He was admitted to the Colachel Government Hospital for treatment. His mother lodged a complaint against priest Robinson who beat the boy because of his animosity towards Hindu dharma. 

Later, a video of Arun ‘clarifying’ that he was given punishment because he didn’t study well and took leave often. He was made to say that there is no religious intolerance in the school and that the principal is a loving person. The video was posted by a Facebook group named St Michael’s Church Mylacode where Robinson is the parish priest. But many posted comments in the group about Robinson’s behaviour and affirmed that Arun was indeed beaten for attending the ritual.

A comment from Xavier Kumar, a lay person and father of a girl studying in the same school calling out priest Robinson and school management

A Christian man, the father of a girl studying in the same school, said that Arun was targeted because he is a Hindu and from a poor family. He said that his daughter was treated the same way and a fake case was filed against him when he was questioned about malpractices in the school administration. He alleged that Arun was often mocked and denigrated for his poor background. He further said that the boy and his family magnanimously gave up the issue to save the school’s reputation, yet the school forced him to post the video and shamed his conduct.

The Kuzhithurai diocese runs the Mother Theresa Matriculation school. As the parish priest of Mylacode, Robinson is in charge of administering all the institutions run by the diocese. This is not the first time a Christian school has punished Hindu kids for sticking to or following dharma. In November 2022, at the time of Deepavali, a Christian school in Madhya Pradesh campaigned against bursting crackers to discourage Hindu kids. In 2021, a  girl student of the Baren Bruck Higher Secondary school in Tenkasi was humiliated by her teachers for wearing Vibhuti (sacred ash) and Kumkum.

Two boys who went to the Anderson Higher Secondary School, a government-aided school, in Kanchipuram, were berated by a teacher for wearing Vibhuti saying, “Only rowdies wear them”. In 2017, two 12th-standard students were expelled by St.Joseph Higher Secondary School in Ramanathapuram for applying Vibhuti. Students of a Christian school in Kanyakumari were forced by their teacher to accept Christianity. She advised them to read the Bible as “Bhagwat Gita is bad”. In 2021, a Christian teacher in another Christian school in Tirupur abused a girl student wearing Vibhuti saying, “You Pattai wearing donkey”. A missionary school in Mangaluru forced its students to remove their Rakhis and throw them in the dustbin.

St Mary’s English School in Gujarat punished two boys who greeted each other with “Jai Shri Ram” in 2022. In 2017, the government aided St Joseph’s School in Rameshwaram punished Hindu kids for wearing Vibhuti. The most outrageous of all such cases was when an LKG student was expelled for sporting a shika in 2016.

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