Principal of Mission Girls High School, Ginabahar of Kunkuri block, Chattisgarh operated by a Christian organization has been accused of forcedly collecting money in the name of organising prayer assembly and brutally punishing the students in case they fail to do so.
450 students boycotted the school on Thursday, 9 Nov in protest of such bigotry going on in the name of education. The parents and staff members too joined the protest the next day. After much bedlam, police intervened and the situation came under control. The girls returned home after assurance of appropriate action from higher authorities of Government education department.
Principal of Mission Girls High School, Ginabahar, Nun Pushparani started beating a student brutally till the time her ear started to bleed and she was unable hear from one ear, all this for not contributing ₹200 for a prayer assembly which was being organized by the school. Witnessing the incident, all the students mobilized and boycotted the classes and gathered together in the school courtyard to protest against the incident.
Emboldened by the students, the teachers who were also being mistreated for a long time too joined the students and started demanding immediate dismissal of principal and action against her. Parents too joined the students & staff from Friday afternoon. Taking note of the situation, police contacted authorities of the missionary organization in Delhi. They replied by saying that the principal is being transferred. Principal Pushparani rebutted the allegations by saying that she takes action only to maintain discipline and didn’t intend to harass the students.
The school organized a special prayer assembly from 2nd to 5th of November. Mandatory charges were decided for students of different religion as contribution for the occasion. Christian girls had to bring ₹200 while the charge for girls of other religion was ₹50. The girls who couldn’t bring money had to bring rice for the same amount of money. Some girls didn’t participate in the assembly.
After the school re-opened, the girls were warned of disciplinary action and asked the reason for not joining the prayer assembly. A girl from class 12th asked the reason for why money was being collected just for a prayer assembly. She said that the prayer needs to be done from heart and that her family faces problem in depositing what is a huge sum of money for them. How will God accept prayers which hurt his followers?
As the girl student was speaking, Pushparani started slapping the girl mercilessly. The girl was badly injured and her ear started to bleed. Other students were shocked by the behavior of their principal. They gathered in the shcool compound and started protesting openly. The students continued the boycott till Friday, while staff too came out in open and joined the protest. Parents also joined in and expressed their displeasure against the Principal.
Students and Parents Narrate Systemic Communal Discrimination, Abuse
The students alleged that the school discriminates on communal lines. The students shared their problem with media when the parents and villagers arrived at the school on Friday. Students accused the woman principal of indecent behaviour. They said Pushprani would wrongly accuse the students of indecent activities if they would be absent due to genuine reasons like ill health. Male staff was deployed to clean ladies toilets by the principal. Untimely functions were organized just to collect money from students. The principal was accused of communal discrimination and spreading communal discord.
Social worker Aslam Azad and son of founding member of institution Anil Dhanson had a heated argument with the principal. Aslam Azad, a parent and president of education committee since last 20 years, said that his neice and another student of the school told him that the principal assaulted the students the previous day. Derogatory comments were used for other religions. Students were involved in non-educational activities. Aslam and Anil said that the students regularly complain of mistreatment in the school. They demanded a criminal case be launched against the principal. Other parents too had arguments with the principal.
Staff Forced to Watch Kanhaiya Kumar Videos – Follow His Ideology
Staff of the school and its parent missionary organization said that communal discrimination was rampant in the school. Rituals of other religions are laughed upon and insulted. They are publicly assaulted, abused and shamed for their caste and religion. Staff members said that they are made to watch videos of JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar and instructed to follow his ideology. A school staff told that they complained to the previous DEO (District Education Officer) but the case against the Nun principal was buried.
BEO (Block Education Officer) PK Bhatnagar arrived at the scene after getting news of the furore. He said that the allegations are serious and higher authorities are being briefed on the matter. Mr. Bhatnagar said he wasn’t aware of facts of previous investigations. People tried to get in contact with the DEO but weren’t successful. He didn’t answer any phone calls either.
Getting the information of protests at the school, Kunkuri SDPO Mr. Arjun and Station Incharge Mr. Dubey too arrived at the scene. Mr. Dubey said that he had conversation with Delhi headquarters of the organization, who told that the accused principal is being called back and that soon a new principal be given charge of the school. The students said that they will attend classes only if the principal is removed from her post soon, otherwise they will continue their boycott and protests.
This two week old news has got zero mention in English mainstream media. There is no information about which Delhi-based missionary organization is running the school. The Chattisgarh Government’s Jasphur district website lists the school and mentions the School Body as ‘Mission’ (Private and Government being the other two categories). In all likelihood, this is an aided school which receives tax-payer funds. And this is not an isolated incident – the pattern of open or subtle discrimination against students of other religions in Christian missionary schools can be seen across the country as we have highlighted in previous articles.
Now, imagine the outrage if a RSS-linked school was accused of similar discrimination and abuse of non-Hindu students and staff? Hold that thought and you will realize the immense clout the Christian missionaries hold over our academia, media and public discourse. And top it all, these same missionaries manage to project themselves as the persecuted community in the eyes of the world.