Every time someone from the so-called minority communities complains about being forced to sing Vande Mataram or a Saraswati Vandana in a school or a public function, the entire liberal Jamaat picks up arms, and we witness a flurry of articles, op-eds, TV debates, demonstrations and what not. The whole country will be called intolerant and few awards that were solicited by a favorable government earlier would also be returned!
However, the same liberal gang remains as mute as a fish, when cases of forcing their religious views on the majority Hindus comes out in the open. The latest case of a Protestant Christian school forcing non-Christian students to learn their spiritual teachings is a case in point.
Stanes Application Form
In early April, the misdemeanors of Stanes Nursery School in Coimbatore came out in the open with several parents complaining against forcing their religious views on non-Christian students. In its application form, the Stanes Nursery School stated that 'the objective of their School is to ensure that students obtain a good and liberal education based on sound Protestant Christian principles and values' and makes it mandatory for parents to accept this condition to get admission for their children into the school. Such forced religiosity of the accused school rattled the parents whose wards were admitted here. But the concerns of the parents were brushed aside by the school authorities who arrogantly stated that it was their right as a religious minority school and that the parents have admitted their wards only after accepting all conditions of admission for the school.
NCPCR order to DC Coimbatore
NCPCR Takes Note
However, the school’s arrogance and its blatant communalisation of school curriculum went viral on social media. By noticing the matter on Social Media Platforms, the Legal Rights Protection Forum approached the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and sought necessary legal action in this matter.
AS Santosh, President of Legal Rights Protection Forum took up the cause and wrote to the NCPCR. Santosh in his complaint provided details of the schools application form which mandated the parents to accept the condition that their children will ‘obtain good and liberal education based on sound Protestant Christian principles and values’. Santosh contended that such a condition amounts to propagating Christianity by targeting innocent children and is also contrary to their “Right of Opinion to think and believe what they want and to practise their religion” as prescribed by United Nations Convention on Child Rights in its Article No. 14. He also states in his letter that such a condition laid down by a religious minority institution is contrary to the actual purpose of obtaining permission to run an educational institute in India.
Initially, the NCPCR dismissed the complaint stating that the Stanes Nursery School is a Minority Educational Institution and registered under National Commission for Minority Educational Institution and said that the prima facie it is not violating any Child Right.
Dissatisfied with this response, the Legal Rights Protection Forum again approached NCPCR by quoting the Article 28(3) from the Constitution of India which states that "No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto Cultural and Educational Rights".
Santosh in his complaint also reiterates that “In the history of human rights, the rights of children are the most ratified. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines Child Rights as the minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be afforded to every citizen below the age of 18 regardless of race, national origin, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origin, wealth, birth status, disability, or other characteristics.”
The Stanes School and many other educational institutions which are run by the minorities are guilty of taking away this very freedom from the Hindu kids. There have been many instances (see box) where the rights of Hindu children have been trampled in the name of minority immunity.
LRPF complaint to NCPCR
Impact of LRPF Complaint
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights took cognisance of LRPF’s complaint and ordered the Coimbatore District Collector to investigate into the matter that Stanes Nursery School is imposing Protestant Christian religious values on the children of Nursery classes. On 1st April the NCPCR ordered Coimbatore district collector Thiru K Ramajani to investigate into the matter and asked to submit the Action Taken Report (ATR) within 20 days of the issuance of the letter over the complaint.
The Stanes School which was exposed and had no other option took down the application form from its website. When we checked the application form was not available on the schools website. The application form and the attitude of the school had gone viral on social media with many accounts sharing the same on their timeline.
Legal Rights Protection Forum also brought the matter to the notice of NCPCR that, after the matter of Stanes Nursery School, Coimbatore's Admission Form had gone viral on Social Media at national level, the school authorities immediately had taken down the 'Nursery Admission Form' from their official site which Santosh had provided as proof in his complaint earlier. This action of taking down the application form from their website is a clear indication that the school management knew that they violated rules by imposing religious views on children in an educational institution, says Santosh.
As of today, the NCPCR is yet to receive any reply from Coimbatore DC. Whatever stand the DC takes, this calls for policy at the national level to restrain such schools from imposing their religious views on others in the name of minority rights. The flawed RTE which applies only to Hindu schools is already imposing enormous pressure on Hindu children and parents as well as the school administration. If such cases of forceful imposition of minority religious views go unchecked, Hindu children will be further alienated from their culture and traditions.
It is public knowledge that many schools in the name of ‘secular education’, have banned the use of Hindu symbols by children. We have come across numerous cases where Hindu kids are barred from wearing a tilak, bindi, bangles and even flowers. The school authorities have punished kids for not adhering to such anti-Hindu mandates. At the same time, no one dares to question the minority children opting to wear their religious symbols like the hijab or skull cap. Any move to bar them have led to rioting by parents with support from the liberal Jamaat in the media and political class. The HRD has to take note of the Hindu sentiments and mandate that these minority schools do not run roughshod over the rights of Hindus in the name of immunity to the minorities.