At least 100 members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal on Monday vandalised a missionary school in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district, alleging that eight students were forcefully converted to Christianity.
The Hindutva violence took place while the students of Class 12 were sitting for an exam.
The St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda region was targeted by Hindutva groups after rumors on social media that as many as eight students were converted by the administration.
The school and its church have denied the allegations and blamed local YouTube channels run by Hindutva men for spreading rumours regarding religious conversion and creating an atmosphere of anti-Christianity. They also accused the police of not making proper security arrangements.
Videos showed a Hindu mob is seen entering the St Joseph School as they shout slogans like “Jai Shree Ram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.” The students and the school staff present had a narrow escape.
“The members of the different organisations, including VHP and Bajrang Dal, had announced to hold a protest against an alleged conversion of eight children at St Joseph School. On Monday, people handed over a memorandum to the sub-divisional magistrate and later, the mob turned violent and pelted the school premises with stones,” Hindustan Times quoted Sub-Divisional Officer of Police Bharat Bhushan Sharma as saying.
Police registered a case against four identified VHP members and 50 unidentified members of Bajrang Dal under different sections of IPC including 147 (rioting) and 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon).
India has seen a rise in Hindutva attacks against Christians after several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments passed or proposed draconian anti-conversion laws in states.
According to a report by human rights groups in October, more than 300 attacks on Christians took place in the first nine months of this year across India, including at least 30 in Karnataka.