A bizarre incident that took place in the education hub of Maharashtra has left some parents and students agitated. The incident made it to the news only on July 6, however, it took place on July 4 bringing Pune's D.Y Patil High School to remain completely shut until further notice.
Around noon time on the 4th, a group of workers from Bajrang Dal, along with Vishva Hindu Parishad, arrived (VHP), arrived at the institution near Talegaon town of Pune. This was concerning the installation of a CCTV camera in the washroom area for girls studying in Classes 8-12 and the alleged recital in the school of a Christian prayer but not of other faiths.
Following that, a video showed the mob chanting slogans as they chased and attacked school principal Alexander Coates Reid as he ran from them on the school campus with his clothes torn. In line with Inspector Ranjit Sawant, in charge of Talegaon MIDC police station, Reid and the school administration have not approached the police with a complaint until late Thursday (July 6).
The Officials Say:
As per reports, Pastor Rajesh Kelkar, the head of an inter-denomination church group, said he spoke to Reid following the incident and again on Thursday evening "to offer legal support." Kelkar, who heads Christian Forum in Pimpri-Chinchwad, said the principal "felt humiliated at how he was assaulted."
In addition, Kelkar said, "It is not correct to take the law into one's hands… We appeal to the management and the principal to file a complaint (against the attackers)… Also, why is a simple prayer that does not take the name of any God but is recited in English being colored to make it sound as if it is a conversion attempt."
What do Bajrang Dal and VHP Group Say:
Sandesh Bhegde, Bajrang Dal co-convener for Western Maharashtra, said, "After getting no response from the administration, we waited for the principal to arrive. When he came, we gheraoed him." Maharashtra Education Commissioner Suraj Mandhare said.
Speaking, Somnath Dabhade, an office-bearer of the VHP's Pune unit, said, "After several parents approached us, we went to the school with two main demands. One was to remove the CCTV camera installed inside the girls' bathroom and take strict action against those responsible for installing it. The second was about prayer from the Bible that the school makes students recite."
As the issue is coming out with several layers, the school, which accommodates 900 students, informed parents that it will remain closed from July 6 until further notice.