29, Mar 2019 | CJP Team
Parents of students from a reputed Bareilly cantt. school have alleged that their children, who are students of class 9th and 11th, were failed because there was pressure of religious conversion on them.
A report published in the daily newspaper Amar Ujala claims that there was major chaos in said school (but does not name the school), because the parents alleged pressure from the school administration, which primarily consists of people identifying themselves as Christians. Indirectly, the report goes on to say that it appears as if there was pressure from the administration on students belonging to “other religious communities” to convert [to Christianity]. The report says that one teacher, Sarthak, has accused a Sister, who is part of the administration, alleging that she reportedly seeks donations for “her organisation” from other teachers and threatens those who fail to contribute.
The report says that the school management has denied any such allegations of a religious conversion underway.
Curiously, the report also says that in this context, the parents, along with Sangh-affiliated Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) office-holders, have met the city Circle Officer (CO), Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Kuldeep Kumar and expressed their grievances. The CO himself is quoted as saying, “It doesn’t appear that this is a matter of religious conversion. We will consult the officers of the department of education and form a committee to ascertain that the failing of students in the exam is not deliberate. If that is the case, then we will take action against the school administration. But if students have not written correct answers then we can’t do anything.”
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It is not possible to comment on the issue as the matter is under investigation, but the involvement of the VHP in matters pertaining to a school administration and alleged religious conversion just prior to the Lok Sabha elections is worth pondering. Bareilly is set to vote on April 16. Moreover, the criminal record of the VHP in provoking incidents of communal violence is well worth recalling.
In Bareilly city, merely a few months ago in September 2018, reports highlighting the physical violence perpetrated by VHP members on two Christian priests had emerged. In the past, VHP members had also demanded the removal of chapters from a Kerala book talking about other religions.
One can only be watchful to see how the controversy pans out.