Class 12 students of St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda Vidhisha district of Madhya Pradesh were writing their Maths paper on 6 December. But little did they expect to find their school under attack in the middle of their exam.
Based on an allegation about eight students being converted into Christianity in a conversion drive, members of Hindutva groups including the VHP gheraoed the school around noon that day.
Video footage from the school show a mob of around 300-500 people chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' and ‘Missionaries Murdabad’, outside the school gate. Some miscreants who managed to get inside the school were seen to be pelting stones at the building and vandalising school property.
Although it's been a week since the actual incident happened, why we are talking about it now is because unfortunately this kind of an attack against the Christian minority is not a one-off event.
It is becoming a grotesque pattern with churches being frequently ransacked across the country and prayer meetings being disrupted by Hindutva mobs on mere suspicions of "forced religious conversions".
The dangerous rhetoric around conversions is sometimes also getting abetted by elected governments in states like BJP-ruled Karnataka who are giving credence to such sentiments with anti-conversion law proposals.
But are anti-conversion laws constitutional? Are religious conversions all illegal? Is the freedom to practice and propagate one's faith fast diminishing in India?
In this episode, you will hear voices from ground zero – of teachers, parents, VHP leaders – to piece together what really happened at St Joseph's, where these suspicions of forced conversions are stemming from and how are people responding to the allegations. We'll also be joined by our legal editor Vakasha Sachdev.