On Monday afternoon, right-wing activists from Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad created a ruckus and indulged in vandalism at a missionary school claiming religious conversion of eight students to Christianity. The incident happened in the premises of Saint Joseph School in Ganjbasoda, some 48 km from the district headquarters. The school has denied charges of religious conversion. The incident occurred at around 12:10 pm, when around 300 people gathered outside St Joseph High School to protest — while the school was conducting exams for Class 12 students. The mob soon turned violent and broke into the school premises, damaging property. School principal Brother Anthony Tynumkal told The Indian Express that the mob was armed with iron rods and stones, and chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while damaging school property. Tynumkal said police had played down their request for protection. “They assured us that the mob would only shout a few slogans and disperse peacefully, but that they would send a few men… Police only came after the goons had already left.” Eyewitnesses said stones were also pelted at the school building during the ruckus. A school management spokesman said that after getting the information about the protest through the media, the local administration was intimated in advance about the possible disturbance.
In a memorandum submitted to the local administration after the protest, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal, the Hindu Jagran Manch and other right-wing organisations accused the school management of converting eight students to Christianity, reported Outlook. In a letter to the district collector on Sunday, the Saint Joseph Church, however, denied all allegations of religious conversion and claimed rituals which were performed on eight Christian children were like 'Janeu Sanskar' in Hinduism (related to wearing a white, sacred thread) on October 30.
Indian Express report : Sub-Divisional Police Officer for Ganj Basoda tehsil, Bharat Bhushan, denied the allegation. He said, “It was meant to be a peaceful protest… A few miscreants used the opportunity and hurled stones at the glass cover on the school building and damaged it… The school authorities were not only given protection [but] there was prompt action and police has already taken four members of the Bajrang Dal into custody.” Police have registered a case under IPC Section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50). Bhushan said that the Vidisha SP and district magistrate have visited the school to take stock of the situation.