A government aided TDTA Primary School run by the Tirunelveli District Trust Association (TDTA) under Tirunelveli CSI, Diocese is functioning in Achangundam. Hindu parents from this village have now stopped sending over 100 wards to a local government-aided primary school back in March. They alleged that the administration was preaching Christianity. To condemn the school attitude, the parents of the children have staged a protest in Veerakeralampudur on7th August. The parents have also a sent a petition to Chief Minister M K Stalin demanding a government school in their village.
Hindu Munnani leaders said “ the students of Acchangundam, who studied in this school, refused to send them to the school from March 2023 and their parents bought their transfer certificates. They have requested the district collector and the education department to set up a government school in Acchankunram. So far more than 150 students have left the school.
In the meantime, in order not to affect the primary education of those students, the education department has arranged for the students who have dropped out to write their final year exams in a government school in a town called Viranam, which is about 6 km away.
But when the new education or academic year begun this year, the Hindu parents withdraw their wards and started protesting, giving representations to authorities. To pacify the agitating Hindu parents, TN school education department officials have decided to hold parlays to coax them to send the children to any of the schools in the region. More than 400 people have sent a representation alleging “ the administration of the aided primary school is also attempting to construct a church over a poramboke plot of land. Opposing the construction, we held a road blockade in March and the police arrested us. Since then, we stopped sending our children to that particular school. We have also petitioned the district collector and other officials seeking steps to establish a government school in our village. Our children have to travel to a government school located six km away from our village for writing annual exams”.
The locals also said that they provided a land parcel to the government for constructing a school, and also a building to conduct temporary classes until the construction is over. They said “The school education department should provide our children with government teachers, school books, lunch, and uniforms for the 2023-24 academic year. Since the strength of the aided school has declined, the government could assign the teachers there, to teach our children”.
One of the parents said “ Things were normal. Only after the school moved to a new location in the north of the town,students’ activities began to change. They started saying that they will pray if Sami asks them to bow down at home. The change in the speech and actions of the school-going children disturbed us. We did not send our children to that school after that for fear that they would change their religion”.
Chief Educational Officer of Tenkasi district Muthaiah told media “while the parents of 56 Hindu students had admitted the children to other schools, parents of about 70 other Hindu children are refusing to send their wards to any school. Religious issues can be resolved through talks. But, parents should not stop sending their children to school under any circumstances. We conducted a meeting on 9th of this month in that Revenue Divisional Officer, school education officials, tehsildar, and police officials also attended the meeting. We have also brought the demand for a new school to the attention of the state government”.
When a similar religious issue was raised in Kuthapanchan village near Alangulam, Hindu parents there agreed to send their children to another school nearby after the school education department arranged a government bus to pick up and drop the students.
Hindu Munnani leaders say “ After shifting this government aided school, which has been running for more than 50 years, the school management has decided to build a church on the site of the old school. In the village around 1000 families are living and majority of them are Hindus. Only a small number of Christians. Hindus have protested against the construction of a church in the old school premises and preaching of Christianity in the school.
One of the woman protestors told media that we opposed the construction of church in a porompoku place (government land) but they with the help of RDO got a patta saying it was belonged to church. Survey number 242/41 is a government land . When we questioned and protested, police arrested 88 of us. When we tried to give petition in person to the District collector in last July (24-7-2023), police did not permit us to leave the village. This is not an isolated incident to pass over giving leasing important.
In January last , a girl studying in 12th standard in Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Thirukattupali in Thanjavur ended her life after she was allegedly tortured by her school authorities for refusing to convert to Christianity. A government school teacher in Kanyakumari district allegedly proselytizing a 6th standard student and made objectionable remarks about Hindus, Bhagavat Gita and indulged in preaching Christianity to her students. In the Kanyakumar based girl student’s viral video, she was saying Beatrice Thangam, who works as a tailoring and sewing teacher at the Government Higher Secondary school located in Kannattuvilai of Kanyakumari district, has been teaching Christianity in classes. The student accused her teacher Beatrice Thangam of derogating Hindus as ‘Satan‘ (devil) and glorifying Christianity. “ Sewing Teacher asks us to read the Bible. We told her that we are Hindus and we read only Bhagavad Gita. She told that Bhagavad Gita is bad and not to read. She asked us to read the Bible as it had good philosophy and would tell us stories from it.” The student tells in the video. The girl student also says in the video that the teacher told stories about a Christian and a ‘Satan’, referring to Hindus Gods as devils.
Before this issue die down, a Tirupur based government aided Jaivabhai Corporation Girls Higher Secondary school Tamil language teacher tried to convert a 12-year-old six standard girl to Christianity. It is alleged that Christian teachers abused the student for sporting sacred ash and vermilion and targeted her over her religion. A video, posted by Hindu Munnani on Facebook, the girl is seen recounting instances where she had to face the brunt of Christian teachers for being Hindu. Teacher told her to answer “ who saved us by sacrificing their life “Jesus gave his life for us and why do none of you say his name?. Another day when she wrote Hindu God names, she was scolded for the same. Hindu girls were forced to pray with folded hands in a Christian way. Her parents with the help of Hindu Munnani lodged a complaint with police. It also held a protest seeking action against teachers who attempted to convert students.
A private TV channel did string operation last year to unravel the truth and magnitude of forced conversions in schools in Nagercoil and Kanyakumari areas. In it, a parent replied to a reporter’s queries.
Reporter : So did they say that if you convert you will be able to save your kid? Mother : “ Yes but it was my decision to convert or not.
Reporter: so what did they say? Mother: They asked me to pray as much as possible and that Jesus will help me.
Reporter: Did they ask you to continue your prayers? Because that’s what churches do. They come and ask you to convert and change your faith? That’s how they pull in more people. Mother: Yes, They have said all those things. But it was on me to convert or not.
Reporter: But they did try and brainwash you that if you worship Jesus, you will be able to save your kids’ life? Mother: yes and I also ended up coming for prayers.
Reporter: so were you able to save your kid after going there? Mother: No, my kid died even after going there.
The parents and students were allegedly threatened to convert in some places besides inducing death fears. They are told to read Bible otherwise they would go to hell. They are told not to read Bhagavat Gita instead read Bible which has good philosophies. In a letter to DGP Sylendra Babu and Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu on September 9 last year , National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sought action against CSI Monahan School in Royapettah in Chennai for housing girl students in their unregistered child care institute and forcing them into religious conversions to Christianity.
“The conversions are blatantly taking place in coastal districts more specifically in Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi districts. Both Christians and Muslims are vying with each other to convert hapless and poor by luring money, job, offering cure for their incurable diseases with false promises. Many Hindu dominated areas have become minority forts. The speeches of Assembly Speaker M Appavu, CM M K Stalin, his son and minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi praising the Christianity and reminding them it is their government , would anything for them for the support they extended during polls by voting to DMK , have emboldened them blatantly to do such activities. BJP TN Chief Annamalai had said top and important police positions are being filled with Christians. Out of 38 districts nearly 60 percent of Collectors are from the Christian religion” VHP media in charge Arumuga Kani told your correspondent.
BJP Annamalai had tweeted earlier “Forcible conversion in TN schools is becoming real, getting open & acute every day. We haven’t seen religious assault of this nature anytime. Expecting @CMOTamilnadu to act on this grave issue at least now!”. This is still valid if the present happenings are viewed seriously.