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Carmel students panic

Bajrang Dal activists today staged a vociferous demonstration in front of Carmel Convent, BHEL to protest the alleged selective removal of lessons related to Hindu festivals and saints from the syllabus of class I students.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 11:53 IST

Bajrang Dal activists today staged a vociferous demonstration in front of Carmel Convent, BHEL to protest the alleged selective removal of lessons related to Hindu festivals and saints from the syllabus of class I students.

The protestors created quite a ruckus in front of the school terrifying the students and parents in the process.
Though the arrival of police, officials of the district administration and education department managed to control the situation the loud demonstration continued for about an hour.

While the Catholic Church and some social organisations have condemned the incident saying that it was a part of the string of attacks on minority institutions and individuals, the administration sought to play it down saying that the demonstration was peaceful and that the school administration had accepted the lapse on its part.

Bajrang Dal activists were protesting the alleged decision of the school administration not to teach lessons on Diwali and some saints though they form part of the CBSE course syllabus for standard I.

The activists said that it was a selective act that amounts to hurting the sentiments of Hindu community. Bajrang Dal, in a memorandum submitted to the District Education Officer and district administration, has also charged the school administration with forcing the students of other communities to read Bible and misbehaving with parents and students.

It has demanded the cancellation of Carmel Convent’s recognition on these grounds. BHEL area SDM H S Rawat and District Education Officer O P Sharma reached the school premises and held discussions with the demonstrators and school administration to diffuse the situation. Rawat told Hindustan Times that the demonstration, though running long, was largely peaceful.

He mentioned that the Bajrang Dal has submitted a memorandum protesting the selective deletion of lessons amounting to hurting the sentiments of a community.

He said that directives have been issued to the DEO to look into the allegations in detail and submit a report within three days following which action would be taken.

He added further that the demonstrators were calmed through discussion and the situation remained under control.Sharma said that discussions were held with the school administration and they accepted the lapse regarding deletion of lessons and assured the DEO that they would be taught as per norms.

Other points on the memorandum of Bajrang Dal would also be checked before deciding upon the next course of action, he added. School authorities could not be contacted for comments in this regard. Meanwhile in a press release issued here, the Regional Public Relations Office of the Catholic Church, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has condemned the incident and demanded that the State Government prevent the recurring incidents by anti-social elements.

Church PRO Fr Anand Muttungal has also demanded imposition of Section 144 around education institutions for their safety.
He said that during the last few days there have been planned attack on Christian community and they have continued despite repeated discussions with the administration.

He said that the State Government should fulfill its responsibility of safeguarding the members of all communities. L S Hardenia of the Rashtriya Secular Manch has also condemned the incident saying that it created terror among the students and parents. He has demanded imposition of Section 144 around educational campuses. He has charged that the police and administration did not take proactive steps to prevent the incident.

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 11:53 IST