Report from Ancy Paladka
Daijiworld Media Network - Mumbai (SP)
Mumbai, Sep 13: "Christian schools in Raigad District have been targetted by the local education department, as they were closed on August 29, to express solidarity and support to the Orissa victims," charged Dolphy DSouza, president of Bombay Catholic Sabha today.
"Bombay Catholic Sabha(BCS) demands, that the circular in question, issued by the department be immediately withdrawn. The Sabha also demands for the immediate suspension of the concerned official. BCS wants adequate police protection to be given for the schools/institutions / personnel in Maharashtra, whenever any sort of agitations are launched, if this demand is not acceded to immediately." he said.
"We are shocked at the ridiculous circular issued by the block education officer of Raigad district, questioning the commitment of the schools there, to the patriotic and nationalistic principles, besides summoning the school principals for a meeting on September 16 to discuss the following questions:
1. Is the national anthem sung in your school?
2. Are the lessons on Saints taught in the school?
3. Is Religion taught in your school?
4. Are the pictures of the national leaders displayed in your school and if so, where?
We are equally shocked to learn, that this circular was issued under pressure from, and directions of, the local zilla panchayat president, who is from the BJP." he explained.
"We need to know the following from the chief minister / education minster of Maharashtra: 1. Is this Circular issued under the directions of the education minister? 2. Is this circular being issued selectively to only the Christian Schools? " he stressed.
"We need to respectfully advise the concerned government authorities, that the Christian institutions are protected under the Indian constitution under article 30, which stipulates the rights of the minorities to establish, administer and run the institutions of their choice. We do not have to put the badge of patriotism on our shoulders, as the work of the institutions and their personnel is committed and involved in nation-building, by educating the children of all communities," he
He also demanded for the following:
1. Immediate withdrawal of the said Circular.
2. Suspension of the concerned education official
3. Adequate police protection for all the Institutions in Maharashtra, as they fear for the safety of the institutions and the personnel.
"If our requests are not complied with, the Bombay Catholic Sabha will have no other option but to launch a public agitation to protectour rights guaranteed under the Constitution," he cautioned.