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4 Held for Vandalising Missionary School in Madhya Pradesh Over 'Religious Conversion'

A mob, that also included members of some Hindu organisations, vandalised St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda of Vidisha district y'day, claiming religious conversion of students at the school. (ANI)

A mob, that also included members of some Hindu organisations, vandalised St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda of Vidisha district y'day, claiming religious conversion of students at the school. (ANI)

Eyewitnesses said stones were also pelted at the school building during the ruckus.

Police have detained four persons in connection with vandalism and ruckus allegedly created by activists of right-wing groups at a missionary school in Ganjbasoda town in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district the day before over the purported religious conversion of eight students to Christianity. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday said the police are directed to ensure that such incidents are not repeated. Police on Monday registered a case of rioting against unidentified persons after the incident which occurred on the premises of Saint Joseph School in Ganjbasoda, some 105 km from Bhopal, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

SDM Roshan Rai said that the police personnel have been deployed for the security of the school and all employees, including nuns, are safe. “Police personnel have been deployed. All children are safe. Nuns are also here, they are safe too. Senior police officers from the local police station are also present," Rai was quoted by ANI as saying.

Eyewitnesses said stones were also pelted at the school building during the ruckus. A school management spokesman said that after getting the information about the protest through the media, the local administration was intimated in advance about the possible disturbance.

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School Manager of St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda, Brother Antony, told media that a letter was circulated alleging the conversion of students was being done in the school.

“A letter was circulated in the name of our school that eight Hindu students have been converted to Christianity. The names of the students mentioned in the letter do not study here. The date October 31 was mentioned in the letter which was Sunday when no student or teachers report to school. These students do not study at our school. I have no information of any such student," he said.

Police registered a case under section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon) and 427 (causing damage to the amount more than ₹50) of Indian Penal Code, said BB Sharma, sub-divisional officer of police (SDOP), Ganjbasoda, Vidisha. Four identified persons have been detained by the police, according to Hindustan Times report.

The SDOP said, “The members of the different organisations, including VHP and Bajrang Dal, had announced to hold a protest against an alleged conversion of eight children at St Joseph School. On Monday, people handed over a memorandum to sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and later, the mob turned violent and pelted the school premises with stones.”

VHP regional president Rajesh Tiwari, however, said that the members of VHP and Bajrang Dal were holding peaceful protests but anti-social elements joined in and created ruckus.

(With inputs from PTI)

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first published:December 07, 2021, 07:03 IST