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Hindu radicals target Catholic school

Allegations that children barred from admission on religious grounds

Parents  throng a school seeking admission for the new session Parents throng a school seeking admission for the new session
  • ucanew.com reporter, Indore
  • India
  • January 10, 2011
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Hindu radical groups have disrupted admissions procedures in a Church-run school at Ujjain, central India, claiming that children had been refused admission because of their religion.

“The school management insulted our religion and refused admissions to Hindu children,” Amay Apte, local leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student group, told ucanews.com yesterday.

On Jan. 7, Apte’s group and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, world Hindu council) demonstrated in front of St. Mary’s Convent School in Ujjain, an ancient city in Madhya Pradesh state.

Apte also alleged that the principal had told a Hindu parent that the school would not admit children of “tilak dhari,” a term used for Hindus, who sport religious dots on their foreheads.

The student leader said they filed a case against the school management and want the administration to ensure no such incidents recur. He threatened statewide protests if the administration failed to act.

School manager Sister Lillian dismissed the allegations. “We have not insulted any religion. On the contrary we respect all religions,” said the member of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Mary of the Angels, which manages the school.

The manager pointed out that more than 80 percent students in the school are Hindus. She said the school has admitted all children who have met the requirements without looking into their religions.

The nun said a VHP activist unsuccessfully tried to press the management to admit an ineligible child. He then brought the Hindu radicals, who were stopped at the gate by the police.

Manoj Bhatnagar, a Hindu parent, accused the radical groups of creating trouble to attract attention to themselves. Most students in the school were non-Christian. "How can they say that the management is biased?” he asked.

He says all should be proud of “the most reputed school in Ujjain.”

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