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Church-run school suffers intimidation

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)A Church-run school in Madhya Pradesh is being intimidated by the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (People’s Party) for denying admission to a student, its administrators say. School manager, Father John Victor, said yesterday that Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists are trying to force St. Jude’s Higher Secondary School to admit a Grade 5 student. The school in Khargone, in Khandwa diocese in the central Indian state is presently operating under police protection. “The activists have been causing problems for the past week. We always consider transfer cases, but unfortunately all Grade 5 places are full,” Father Victor said.

He said the trouble began after we refused a girl whose father came to the school seeking her admission with a reference from a political figure. The young activists then tried creating a disturbance on the school campus. They tried again on Tuesday and on Wednesday when the National Students Union of India, the student wing of the Congress party, also joined the ABVP and staged a demonstration outside the school. They said the school was not flying the national flag and did not have a portrait of the Hindu goddess of knowledge Saraswati, Father Victor said.

Police later dispersed the protesters, who vowed to intensify their efforts if the girl is still denied admission. Local authorities and the police are offering protection to the school’s students and property, according to Father Victor. Several Christian schools in Madhya Pradesh say they are being harassed and victimized on some pretext or another. On Wednesday the state high court agreed to hear a case brought by the Church which alleges the state government is trying to interfere in the running of their schools.

– ucan

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