The principal of St. Joseph School, Bhanupratappur in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district had to face the ire of parents and locals over his anti-Hindu bigotry as seen in his conduct with students.
The principal, Jomon PT, had asked a Hindu student named Ansh Twari to cut his shikha (lock of hair on the top or back of the head, kept by male Hindus). The student informed his principal that his shikha was a symbol of the Hindu religion and refused to chop it off.
However, the principal showed no consideration for Ansh’s religious beliefs and in a fit of rage, asked Ansh to leave the school. He also prohibited Ansh from entering the school for the next two days. When Ansh informed his family members, they were furious at the gross misbehaviour of the school principal.
They tried to convince the principal but he was adamant that if Ansh wanted to come to school he must get rid of the shikha. The next day, Ansh’s family members along with a group of BJYM activists reached St. Joseph’s School to protest and talk to the principal.
Some activists raised “Jai Shri Ram” slogans and planted a saffron flag on the school premises, as a way of demanding that Hindu Dharma be respected.
BJYM District President Raja Pandey claimed that such complaints about this school have been received earlier as well. He shared that derogatory remarks on Hindu gods and goddesses were made in the school. They are routinely playing with the sentiments of Hindu students and this must not be allowed to continue, added the BJYM District President.
As the matter escalated and the media caught wind of this incident, they reached the school to talk to the principal and understand the matter. However, unwilling to speak to the members of the press, Jomon PT walked out of his chamber. Journalists chased him and tried to speak to him on this issue even when he was inside his car, but he avoided the media and drove out of the school premises.
Such incidents of Hindu students being demeaned and punished for following their religion are frequently reported from Christian schools all over the country. In 2016, St. Vincent Pallotti School in Bengaluru expelled a 3-year-old LKG student just because the child had a shikha as part of his family’s Hindu religious traditions. The principal of the school, Paul D’Souza, dismissed the pleas of the boy’s father, and justified the expulsion saying that the school rules did not allow such ‘superstitious practices’.
Such Christian supremacist bigots pretend as if their beliefs – Jesus being resurrected from the dead, earth being created 6000 to 10000 years ago, the Adam and Eve story, pouring water during baptism washing away ‘original sin’ etc – cannot be termed superstition.
The secular state looks the other way as this supremacist and exclusivist Christian worldview is used to alienate and instill an inferiority complex in Hindu students in Christian schools. Thousands of Hindu-run schools have been forced to shut down in the last decade due to the draconian and opaque RTE law (from which minority-run schools are exempt), and Hindu religious trusts are also prevented from opening and running schools due to govt. control temples and their assets.
Any school found indulging in such bigotry against Hindu religious beliefs should be nationalized and run in public-private partnership by involving the local community.