Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hands off Christian school, state told

A court directive forbidding Madhya Pradesh officials from interfering in the affairs of a Christian school is a “real help for all the minority schools across the state,” says a priest of Satna diocese.
Father Jolly Kunnukadan, who handles such cases for the diocese, was commenting on a Madhya Pradesh High Court interim directive on May 20 over a complaint about a school run by Mar Thoma Church.
The court accepted the petition of Father C.A. Varghese, principal of Christu Kula Mission Higher Secondary English School and asked officials not to interfere in the management until court’s judgment.
The school principal had petitioned the court after officials on April 3 told the school to abandon an entrance examination and asked for admissions to be based on a lottery system.
The district education officer later insisted on accommodating his nominee in the school’s management body, citing a state government circular.
The priest challenged the government circular based on a Supreme Court order that forbids state interference in the management of minority-run institutions.
The state has experienced similar instances of “illegal” interference from officials, said Father Kunnukadan, adding that the order was a “real help” for minority-run schools in the state.
Socially and politically influential people accuse Christians of forcible religious conversion, a crime, when they fail to get their wards admitted into Church-run schools, said a Church official who requested anonymity.

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