ASIA/INDIA - Christian schools strike to protest against the acts of vandalism in an institute

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Calcutta ( Agenzia Fides) - Christian schools in the state of West Bengal will be closed on September 19 to protest against the acts of vandalism that hit a Christian school near Calcutta. As reported to Fides by the local Church, the decision was taken during an emergency meeting of the Association of Christian Schools, which includes various ecclesial bodies of different denominations that manage educational institutions in the state. The "closure" declared by the Christians – explains a statement sent to Fides - aims to raise awareness and urge civil authorities to ensure Christian schools the normal educational-teaching, which students of different religions and social classes benefit from.
On September 12, a mob attacked the "Christ Church" secondary school, a female institute founded 130 years ago, in a suburb of Calcutta, blaming the headmistress for the death of a girl, bullied by some older students. The crowd damaged the school, classrooms were looted, destroying computers and teaching materials and forcing the headmistress Helen Sarkar to apologize publicly and hand in her resignation. The police arrested her because of the pressure they received from extremists, "The Church of North India" (CNI), Anglican Christian community that runs the school, has decided to close the institute for the time being. Meanwhile, parents and students gathered at the closed gates to express solidarity with the school staff and to protest against vandalism. The ACS has also decided to submit the matter to the governor of the state of West Bengal, M.K. Narayanan, deploring the way in which the police and civil authorities have handled the case. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 17/09/2013)