Three Hindu teachers in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district have accused the management of a Christian school of hurting their religious sentiments by asking them to stop singing the Saraswati Vandana and removing a portrait of goddess Saraswati from the notice board.
The Holy Trinity School management said the allegations were false and levelled by teachers with vested interests. The district administration ordered a probe Saturday, even as ABVP activists protested outside the school.
“A complaint had been received that the portrait of goddess Saraswati was removed from the school. I have asked the district education officer (DEO) to inquire,” Dewas Collector Ashutosh Awasthi told The Sunday Express.
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The school has about 1,600 students and 50 teachers.
DEO Rameshwar Khede said the teachers had alleged that the management did not allow Saraswati Vandana to be sung after one day on the ground that prior permission was not taken. They also alleged that the principal had removed a portrait of the goddess from the notice board. He said the teachers stuck to their allegations but there were discrepancies in the accounts given by students. Teachers Sujata Sharma, Sheetal Goswami and Shirish Chandolikar, alleged that whey they confronted the management, they were threatened with dismissal.
Referring to Sharma’s allegation that the management celebrates Christian festivals with fervour but shows little interest in Hindu festivals, principal Sister Lucy said the teachers never raised this issue at the monthly staff meetings. She said the school celebrates more Hindu festivals in a year than Christian ones.
The principal also alleged that five years ago, Sharma had accused the management of forcible conversion, but could not prove the charge. “Despite the fabricated charge, we did not act against her. If we wanted, we could have sacked her then,” said school PRO Praveen Shrivastava.
The PRO claimed the school changes the portrait on the notice board daily and had removed goddess Saraswati’s portrait to make way for Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait on October 2. A teacher tasked with changing Gandhi’s portrait on October 3 forgot to do so, a lapse that led the teachers to fabricate the charge, the PRO said.
The ABVP students submitted a memorandum to the DEO seeking initiation of criminal proceedings against the school and to take away its recognition.