Image: New Indian Express
While all eyes are fixed on the still escalating Saffron shawls versus Hijabs controversy in Karnataka, communal targeting continues in other states across the country. Educational institutions are on alert against any possible targeting, and the fear has led some to take unprecedented steps.
In the Congress government-led state of Chhattisgarh, a decades old private school has removed ‘crucifix’ from its uniform logo, reportedly “under duress”. According to a report in The New Indian Express, parents of some students had “strongly opposed the depiction of a ‘cross’ in the logo of the school” alleging that the school got the new uniform prepared only this year. These parents claim that “the modified logo was not there earlier.”
The recent objections and protests escalated so much that the management of the New Life English Higher Secondary School, at Janakpur in Koriya district of north Chhattisgarh decided to withdraw the symbolic logo from the uniform under duress. The School principal Aradhna Patel, issued a press statement on Tuesday, “Our school has been using the logo on uniforms for the past 30 years and no one ever objected to it. Our institute never intends to hurt the sentiments of any community. Keeping in view the present scenario, the school management committee has decided to change the symbolic logo on the uniform so that communal harmony prevails.” According to the news report, the school has over a thousand students enrolled from nursery to Class XII.
It is important to note that it was in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh where hate speeches were given freely from a so-called Dharma Sansad. Recently videos of a saffron-clad woman reportedly identified as Sadhvi Vibhanand Giri, openly calling for rape telling Hindu men to abduct Muslim women and sexually attack them had gone viral. She had said, “If any Muslim man laid their eyes on a Hindu girl from today onwards, their women will give birth to Hindu children, without a nikah or pheras.” The video was purportedly from the ‘Dharma Sansad’ held in Raipur on December 26, the same event where Kalicharan aka Kalicharan Maharaj, alias Abhijit Dhananjay Sarag, had made derogatory comments against Mahatma Gandhi, and was arrested.
The Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the Evangelical Fellowship of India has recorded in its recently released 2021 report that while Uttar Pradesh had with a record 129 instances where Christians were targeted, Chhattisgarh followed with 74 cases, Madhya Pradesh with 66 and Karnataka had 48, the recently released report may be read here.