The complaint filed after a school suspension for harassment. The bishop speaks of "lies" fabricated out of “revenge". It all started with the reaction of a Hindu teacher who instigated the complainant because of the delayed payment of her salary.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Attempted conversion charges made by an assistant against Sister Bhagya, Sisters of the Destitute (SD), principal of Sacred Heart Convent High School (SHCS) are "a bunch of lies" made up out of "revenge" says the diocese of Satna, in India.
The bishop of Satna, Joseph Kodakallil, told AsiaNews: “This is unfounded, fabricated and a lot of lies. It is a persecution against Christians who adhere to the New Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020".
The first briefing report (FIR) against the nun was filed at Khajuraho Police Station on February 22, 2021 at 1.48 pm, by Ms. Ruby Singh, who claims that the principal nun harassed her to force her to join the Christian faith.
Ms. Ruby Singh worked in the school as a kindergarten assistant teacher from 2016 to 2017.
Sister Bhagya assumed the position of principal of the SHCS in July 2019. At that time Ms. Ruby Singh was working as a substitute for teachers. She couldn't handle any lessons. She usually screamed, got angry and made so much noise in her class that the principal moved her to the office assistant job.
When the principal suggested that Ms. Ruby take up the office assistant job, Ms. Usha, a senior Hindi teacher, began to mislead Ms. Ruby Singh. So Ms. Ruby sat in the office room for about three months, October, November and December 2019 without doing any work. She would not take the salary of these months.
From January 2020 onwards, she began accepting to work as an office assistant. But she did it only to take the substitute book or to bring the attendance register. She then asked for the money for the previous three months, creating great problems.
Often she would enter and sit in the principal's office even when the principal has had to meet parents and students. She looked like an abnormal person. She sometimes laughed, sometimes she cried loudly and sometimes she yelled at the principal.
After the lockdown she went back to school to ask for work and money. So the principal gave her some library work in June until July 17, 2020. During that time, no students, no staff, or her support staff came to school.
The principal told her to find a job somewhere else. She asked for a letter, but the principal did not give her any letter.
After July 17th she came to school to ask for the full money for the month of July. She was only given 17 days. After that until January 31, 2021, there were no problems on her part. She had forcibly taken the salary of October, November and December 2019.
In December 2020 the principal informed the teachers that the salary thereafter will be linked to the collection of the school fee. After sending the message, one of the senior teachers, Ms. Usha, created problems.
On the 5th of each month the salary is distributed to the staff. As there was insufficient collection of fees, salary payments were delayed for a few days. Mrs. Usha spoke to Mrs. Ruth Mary; “On February 10, 2021, something will happen in the school. All the media will come. I met many parents at the market and they said they paid the tuition (only 74 students out of a thousand paid).
Mrs. Ruby stood in front of the main gate of the school (pictured) and she banged on the gate loudly, she shouted that she would die here. She would come to school around 9.30 or 10 and return around 1.30 and 2.30.
On the 10th she came in front of the convent, she stayed until half past one and banged on the gate. Other teachers told the principal to file a report at the police station for security reasons. Then, along with a few men and women on the staff, the principal delivered a letter to the Khajuraho Police Station. SDM and BRC came to the school on February 17, 2021, and on the 19 the police came for verification.
The statements were made by a few staff members, the gate attendant and the principal. On the same day at 10.30 pm Vinod Media published news of the conversion attempts. On the same date the authorities formulated the notice - DEO, BEO, BRC and Gvt.
The principal of the school and the Chhattarpur DIG came and asked about Ms. Ruby and Ms. Usha and they asked the teachers and the principal a few questions. On February 22, 2021, the FIR was registered against the principal sister at the Khajuraho Police Station on charges of conversion on two acts of the 2020 Madhya Pradesh Religion Freedom Ordinance Section 3/5.
A declaration from the diocese, signed by Fr Paul Vargheses reconstructs that “The problem began to arise when the principal announced in December 2020 that the salary thereafter will be paid based on the collection of school fees. The salary was paid on the 5th of each month. When there was a delay in paying her salary for January 2021, Ms. Usha, a senior Hindi teacher, reacted. The audio recording of her was presented at the police station. She instigated and misled Mrs. Ruby Singh to do all of this. The accusation against Sr Bhagya, the principal, is just a revenge by Mrs. Usha and Ruby Singh. "