Tribal school vandalized in Maharashtra – Police refuse to take action

July 18, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Maharashtra, July 17, 2012: Br. Nitin Sardar, chairperson of Dinbandhu Trust, the Christian NGO that runs the school in Maharashtra state’s Yavatmal district, said a group of around 20 people entered the dormitory of Ankur English Medium School on June 16, injuring staff and scaring students into going home.

Police have not taken any action, Sardar said. The dormitory, which housed about 20 students, has been closed. The majority of the 250 students at the school are from the Pardhi tribe, which was considered criminal under British rule and still faces discrimination.

Sardar alleged that a former member of parliament, Jambuwantrao Dhote, instigated the attackers by accusing the NGO of converting Pardhi children to Christianity.Prakash Phuleny, a Pardhi parent, said the incident has so frightened the students that they do not want to go back to the hostel. “The goons did not spare even our women, who were also beaten up,” he said.

The incident shows the attackers wanted the Pardhi people to remain illiterate so that they can continue to exploit them, the attack was carried under the pretext of checking religious conversion.

The Pardi tribe was branded by the British as criminals in 1871 since they had supported some Hindu kingdoms that revolted against the colonists in 1857, said Laxman Mane, an expert on the Pardhi tribe. India has some 10 million Pardhi tribal people, who have become “a faceless, voiceless, landless community wandering in search of livelihood.


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