Catholic school in Madhya Pradesh ordered to install Hindu idol
Satna, Oct 25, 2021: Rightwing Hindu activists on October 25 served a 15-day ultimatum to Catholic school in the central Indian state Madhya Pradesh state to install in the campus an idol of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.
A 30-member delegation of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and Bajrang Dal (Party of the stout and strong) met Father Augustine Chittuparambil, manager of Christ Jyoti Senior Secondary School in Satna district headquarters, to make the demand through a memorandum.
They gave the priest 15 days to comply with their demand or face protests in front of the school.
“The Hindu activists came to our school and wanted us to install an idol of goddess Saraswati in the campus,” Father Chittuparambil told Matters India.
The radicals forced the priest to give in writing that he had received their memorandum that he accepted at the school’s main gate.
The Hindu activists left the place with a warning to come back in case the school failed to comply with their demand.
“They claim that the school was built at a place where the idol of goddess Saraswati had existed,” the priest explained.
He pointed out that the school was built 49 years ago and no one had made such a claim until now.
The Syro-Malabar diocese of Satna manages the school. Satna town is some 455 km northeast of Bhopal, the state capital.
The priest said they will seek legal protection if the radicals come back to create any problem. But the school management would wait for some more time, he added.
This is the second case of harassment of Catholic schools by Hindu groups this year.
On February 22 the police registered a case against Sister Bhagya, a member of the Sisters of Destitute and principal of Sacred Heart Convent High School in Khajuraho of Chhatarpur district.
The nun was accused of attempting to convert a former female staff. She had to obtain bail from the Madhya Pradesh High Court to prevent her arrest.
Ruby Sigh, the complainant accused the nun of offering her a better package if she converted to Christianity. The nun had also allegedly promised her that ailing husband would be healed if they prayed to Jesus.
Church leaders termed the complaint as fake since neither the nun nor the complainant had met during the time the alleged offer was made as the school was shut because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The school had removed the complainant from her job much before the lockdown following complaints from students and their parents about her poor performance.
The complainant targeted the nun under a stringent anti-conversion law Madhya Pradesh implemented in January this year.
The nun is still facing the probe against her.
Madhya Pradesh has been ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.