Karnataka: Hindutva Activists Disrupt Christmas Gathering at School, Threaten Administration

In the latest in the rising instances of such communal attacks on Christians, the members of the right-wing group allegedly threatened to hang up pictures of Hindu goddess Saraswati in the convent school.

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New Delhi: A group of right-wing activists barged into a convent school in Karnataka’s Mandya district on Thursday, December 23 and disrupted a small Christmas celebration taking place, threatening school authorities in the process, NDTV reported.

Members of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike allegedly forced their way into the Nirmala English High School and College and harangued authorities, questioning them as to why Christmas was being celebrated at the institution but not Hindu festivals, the Indian Express reported.

The incident was even caught on video where one of the intruders can be heard saying, “We are leaving this decision to you, parents. If we take this into our own hands, the situation will be different.”

Kanika Francis Mary, headmistress of the school told NDTV that Christmas is celebrated at the institution every year but, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, school authorities had decided to call off the celebration.

However, the students had pleaded with the school for a small gathering to be allowed and even pooled together their own money to buy a cake for the same.

A parent of one of the students objected to the gathering and allegedly told certain right-wing groups that the school was preaching Christianity and celebrating Christmas but not any Hindu festivals. On learning this, members of these groups decided to force their way into the school.

The school authorities filed a complaint with the police the next day, December 24.

Mary also alleged that the Hindutva activists threatened to place a picture of the Hindu goddess Saraswati in the premises of the institution and even ordered them to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi on school grounds.

Karnataka has been witnessing increasing numbers of such attacks on Christians from members of right wing Hindu organisations for the past few months, ever since the recently-passed Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill was first proposed in the state cabinet in September.

Also read: Karnataka Home Minister Says ‘Both Sides to Blame’ for Increased Attacks on Christians

Moreover, this attack on the school is, according to NDTV, the second such incident which occurred on Thursday, the day the law (popularly referred to as the Karnataka anti conversion law) was passed in the Vidhan Sabha.

The law drew heavy opposition both within the state assembly as well as in the outside world for its anti-Christian undertones, yet it was successfully pushed through in the House.