09/05/2014, 00.00
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Karnataka, Hindu radicals against Catholic school: Do not "Christianize" the uniform

Fomented by ultra-nationalist militants, some parents protest against the Mariambika English School. The new uniforms feature the institution's logo: a depiction of Mary, whose name in the local dialect is also the name of the school. Christian leader: "shameful accusations, the school will welcome students of all religions because of the quality of education it imparts."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "A shameful and senseless dispute, fueled by rogue elements who hope to obtain political consensus," says Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), commenting to AsiaNews on theepisode involving the Syro-Malabar Catholic school, Mariambika English School, in the village of Indabettu (Karnataka), accused of having "Christianized" school uniforms, although many of its students are of other religions.

It all began on September 2, when some parents - including members of radical Hindu groups - have complained to the school authorities over the new logos for t-shirts, belts and ID cards, which contained the symbol of the crucifix. The situation quickly degenerated, and the next day a crowd of people - mostly Hindu - organized a demonstration outside the institution. Due to the increasing tension, the Belthangady police intervened to bring the situation under control. The parents agreed to leave only after the school staff agreed to temporarily withdraw the new uniforms.

"The school logo - Sajan George tells AsiaNews - is a caricature of Mary, which is the vernacular name of the Institution itself and this logo was on the School Uniforms. The belts etc. carried a logo, which had a small cross".

According to the president of the GCIC, the episode was orchestrated by "the ultra-nationalist Hindu groups, who want to create distrust and disharmony among the different communities. Christian schools are among the most respected for the quality of education they impart. A demonstration of this, is the fact that Christian students are a minority in our institutes, which welcome a significant number of Hindu and Muslim pupils".

Moreover, notes Sajan George, "Mary is revered by all Indians, irrespective of their religion. Many non-Christians make pilgrimages to Marian shrines, and this makes what happened even more shocking". (NC)



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