Gujarat: Church-run school is attacked, principal beaten

Mumbai, India – Once again minorities in Gujarat have been the object of more intimidation and violence. The latest incident occurred at St Stephen's High School in Dahod, eastern Gujarat, when a group of unknown assailants stormed the school and attacked the clerics who run the place.

The attack took place last Sunday and was apparently triggered by a request some teachers made to female students to wash off the henna tattoos they were wearing.

Although henna tattoos are allowed in the school, teachers on this particular occasion told the students to wash them off because they were wearing too much of it, covering their entire arms.

According to Sister Archana, in a matter of moments and in an apparently pre-planned move, a group of outsiders stormed the school with media tagging along.

The intruders demanded to know why the school authorities had asked the girls to wash off their henna. After that they went to see the school principal, Fr. C. Rayappan, insulted him and then beat him up. On their way out, they threw stones at the Grotto of Our Lady breaking the glass and desecrating the statue.

Contacted by AsiaNews, Father Rayappan said that he “suspects that the incident was a vendetta by families whose children were not admitted in the kindergarten.”

“I tried to reason with them, explain to them why their children were not admitted,” he said as he described his attack.

“I told them that their children were not being punished but they demanded to know which government regulation we were following. A while later they came into my office and struck me, twice on the head, and repeatedly on the abdomen.” (NC)