The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Monday, 25 April penned a letter to Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate of Bengaluru Urban, Manjunath, seeking action against Clarence High School for the forceful imposition of Christian religious views on children.
In response, the official is slated to initiate an inquiry in the matter and submit a corresponding report to the child rights commission within seven days.
As per the letter dated 25 April, the high school allegedly made Bible study mandatory and instructed minors to participate in Christian morning prayers and other religious activities.
The letter says, "It is observed that there is prima facie contravention of Articles 25 and 28(3) of the Constitution along with provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015."
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution refers to the freedom of conscience, meanwhile, Article 28(3) notes that no person attending a State-recognised educational institution can be instructed to partake religious activities without the consent of a parent or a legal guardian.
'Violation of Karnataka Education Act': Education Minister BC Nagesh
As per the statement by the NCPCR, the child rights panel received a complaint against the school on 22 April and as of now, the Hindu Jana Jagruti has filed a complaint against the school.
Reacting to the news, Education Minister BC Nagesh told the media,
"The conduct of the school is in violation of the Karnataka Education Act. Religious matters cannot be taught in schools."BC Nagesh
He added, "Many complain that the BJP breaks the society based on religion. Where did all this go now? Even public intellectuals are silent. They all speak only when it comes to Bhagavad Gita or Tipu Sultan. Why is nobody talking about Bible now?"
Nagesh has reportedly issued a notice seeking action against the school, and urged all Block Education Officers (BEOs) to inspect all Christian institutions to monitor similar practices.
Speaking against the high school, the minister said, "When enrolling children in school, they ask if there is consent to Bible learning. Entry is not allowed unless agreed. This is wrong. I have instructed the text review of all Christian educational institutions in the state. Fake secularists screamed at the top of their voice for including the Bhagavad-gita in the syllabus. But now the Congress and the JDS have not spoken about it. Why is that those who opposed the Bhagavad Gita are now not objecting to the idea of teaching Bible in schools?"
Archbishop of Bengaluru
Reacting to the allegations against Clarence High School, Bengaluru Archbishop Peter MachadIo said in a statement that "Christian institutions are once again being targeted for conversion in the alleged allegation of the children being forced to buy Bibles and bring them to schools in Bangalore. This allegation is false and misleading."
"The institutions run by other religious sects also give religious instructions, based on their sacred books. It is extremely unfair to target only the Christian Institutions, and whatever good is being done is labelled as "For Conversion!"Bengaluru Archbishop
"We heard that the government has plans to introduce, from next year, lessons on values from Bhagavad Gita and other religious scriptures too. If children are requested to buy books of Bhagavad Gita or other religions, can it be considered as forcing them to be influenced or inducing them to be converted to these particular religions? Certainly not! Therefore, using the scripture books in minority schools to promote moral and ethical values cannot be considered as forcefully alluring the students towards their religion," the archbishop stated.