Days after the district administration foiled an attempt by the ABVP to enter St Mary’s PG College in Vidisha to recite Bharat Mata Aarti, the Madhya Pradesh Catholic Diocesan Schools’ Association has moved the high court seeking protection for their educational institutions alleging that the students’ body, affiliated to the ruling BJP, was trying to whip up communal tension.
Secretary-General of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) Theodore Mascarenhas said the institutions run by the minority community were being increasingly targeted by the student body. He said the ABVP had given a call to its members on local WhatsApp groups to go to the college on Tuesday, forcibly enter its premises and recite the aarti. He said the minority community tried to initiate a dialogue with the students’ body but the effort was in vain. Hundreds of ABVP activists had created a ruckus outside the college on January 4 when they were not allowed to enter the premises. A few activists, who are also students of the college, had managed to enter the premises and chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai.
The decision to move the court was also prompted by an alleged attack on priests and seminarians in Satna in December when they were singing carols ahead of Christmas. The priests and seminarians were detained in a police station. While the police had booked one priest for conversion, a Bajrang Dal activist was arrested for torching a car belonging to the minority community.
In another incident, right-wing organisations have given a bandh call to protest the punitive action against around 20 students of St Joseph School in Namli, near Ratlam, for chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” on Thursday. Accusing the school of being anti-national, Bajrang Dal activists alleged that students were not allowed to appear in a pre-board examination for chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” in school after the morning assembly.
The school said the students were not rusticated but were penalised. Spokesman of Catholic Church Fr Maria Stephen said the students had shown disrespect to the patriotic slogan, which is why they were punished.