Catholic school attacked in Madhya Pradesh
12/06/2021: A mob of more than 500 people on December 6 attacked a Catholic school in a town of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, accusing it of indulging in religious conversion.
Brother Antony Pynumkal, principal of St Joseph’s School at Ganj Basoda in Vidisha district told Matters India that the allegation of conversion was “fake and baseless.”
Ganj Basoda town is some 105 km northwest of Bhopal, the state capital.
The Malabar Missionary Brother said they had received a memorandum on November 30 from some local Hindu groups from Ahirwar, Dangi and Rajput Communities alleging of conversion of students.
The management had informed the police but only two of them were deployed in the school premise when the mob came. They could not do anything, said Brother Pynumkal.
The local parish of St. Joseph on October 31 organized the First Holy Communion and Confirmation of eight Catholic children. A local Youtube channel called “Aayudh” carried the event as conversion.
“Those children are not our students and the parish is some two kilometers away from the school,” said Brother Pynumkal.
The management had already informed the local police about the memorandum and ongoing board exams in the school. The principal said the mob attacked the school when the 12th grade board exam was underway.
The school has some 1,500 students and less than 1 percent of them are Christians.
A press note from Father Sabu Puthenpurackal, Public relations officer of Sagar diocese, says the diocesan monthly e-newsletter, Sagar Voice< on November 5 carried a group photo of the Holy Communion children along with the bishop and the parish priest “Sagar Voice” on November 5.
“This photo was misinterpreted as conversion of Hindu children in the Youtube channel Aayudh and instigated the fundamental group to act against Christians,” Father Puthenpurackal said.