Mumbai: A delegation of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) met the Education Minister Shri. Vasant Purke today in Mantralaya to discuss the issue of injustice being inflicted on Hindu students of St. Mary School at Sukapur in Panvel Taluka. Taking cognizance of the Samiti’s complaint, the Education Minister immediately passed an order to the Deputy Director of Education for initiating inquiry on the school.He also gave an assurance that, if needed, he would call for a joint meeting of the HJS and the school administration for resolving this issue through dialogue.
At this time, Shri. Ramesh Shinde, Spokesperson of the HJS for Maharashtra State; Shri. Abhay Vartak, Member of Sanatan Sanstha’s Committee for Redressal of Injustice; Shri. Mahendra Patil, BJP President of Panvel Taluka; Shri. T.D Mhatre, Representative of aggrieved Parents and Shri. Bapu Raokar, Spokesperson of the HJS for Raigad District were present. In this meeting which lasted for half an hour, the HJS presented the Education Minister with complaints of the injustice occurring on Hindu students with proof, in the form of a letter. This letter includes various complaints enumerated below. Also, a CD containing complaints of the aggrieved parents was presented to the H’ble Minister. This letter specifically mentions that inspite of the H’ble Minster’s appeal regarding not to hold the exams during Ganeshotsav, the St. Mary School administration put mental stress on students and their parents by doing so!
The St. Mary School has thus displayed it’s improper adamant attitude by disobeying the H’ble Minister’s orders. Parents have complained about the illegitimate actions of the school management to the HJS. Complaints enumerated in the letter are as follows:
1.The school administration forbids Hindu girl students from wearing a ‘bindi’ on the forehead, wearing bangles and applying ‘mehendi’ on their hands.
2.When Hindu boy students apply ‘Tilak’ on their forehead on any given day, they are forced to wipe it off!
3.The school authorities cut off Rakhis adorned by Hindu boy students on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan!
4.Hindu students are forced to recite Catholic prayers against their wishes!
5.The school notebooks have the Catholic prayer printed on the first page, while India’s pledge and its National Anthem stands printed on the last page!
6.Every classroom has only Jesus’ picture.
7.Class I students are being made to study the subject of Maths from four different textbooks. This is against the stipulated rules.
8.The seating arrangement for students in the school is pathetic.
9.Many people opine that the school does not have administrative approval of the Govt. The school management refuses to disclose the legal documents of the school and when questioned, gives vague answers.
10.Parents are not allowed to enter the premises of school!
11.An inhuman punishment of 75 sit-ups is given to small children!
12.On the day of the Hindu festival of ‘Gokulashtami’, when other schools in near vicinity had declared a holiday, St. Mary School forcibly called its students.
All these acts are unjust and have been committed with malice towards Hindus. Thus, they have hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. This has led to deprivation of the right to freedom of religion as awarded by the Indian Constitution.
Thus, the Samiti has launched an agitation against this. The Samiti alongwith other Hindu organizations and political parties had stormed the St. Mary School administration on 5th September 06. The Samiti in it’s letter has also said that, the Director of the school had given an assurance of stopping these malpractices in seven days with effect from 5 September 06, but did not take any measures in this regard.
The Education Minister read the whole letter and said that, it was wrong on the part of the school to conduct exams during Ganeshotsava and that there is no reason for any objection to any religion. The Indian Constitution has given freedom to all its citizens to abide by their respective religions. Hence, nobody can apply force in case of religious issues. He asserted that, instructions would be given to schools to ascertain that they do not hurt religious sentiments in this manner. He also stated that the suggestions given by the Samiti are appropriate and the school will be made to abide by them. The Minister also clarified that he would personally look into this matter and call a meeting of the Samiti and the School Administration in his presence as soon as possible.