Bishop Kandulna of Khunti saddened by false conversion stories
by Nirmala Carvalho

A school run by missionaries has been falsely accused of conducting forced conversions. The controversy was sparked when the establishment expanded the school building. “We are at the service of the community without distinction of caste or creed,” said the local bishop.

Khunti (AsiaNews) – False information has appeared in local media in the State of Jharkhand about the Roman Catholic Mission Primary School in Sarangloya, an educational establishment run by Claretian missionaries.

According to some media reports, missionaries have carried out forced conversions at the school, a claim Bishop Binay Kandulna of Khunti rejects.

“It is very sad that fake news is circulating about our school,” the prelate explained. “It is very disheartening that false and incorrect information can circulate," he added, speaking to AsiaNews.

“Our religious serve people without discrimination; everyone is welcome in our schools, where we impart quality and a value-based education. We are at the service of the community without distinction of caste or creed.”

The controversy arose after the missionaries decided to add a multipurpose hall to the school.

When some local news channels got wind of the story, they falsely reported that the school had built a church on government land in the village of Sarangloya.

“Since we only had two classrooms, we were unable to meet the growing demands of families,” Bishop Kandulna explained.

“The multipurpose hall is used, among other things, for regular lessons,” but “on Sundays it is used as a prayer hall.”

The prelate notes that “Some 200 Catholic families live in the area,” but insists that “no conversion activities take place.”

Founded in 1936, the Roman Catholic Primary Mission School began first inside a church building.

Eventually, some Catholic families bought 35 acres of land in 1962 and offered it to the Church to build a school, which is now recognised by the government as a privately-owned minority school.