Ruckus at Christian school: Sena MP regrets bid to remove nun’s headgear

Poona India - Amid strong condemnation from the Catholic Association of Poona of the ruckus over admission at Alphonsa School in Kalewadi on Saturday, the Shiv Sena has expressed regret over Sainiks trying to remove a nun’s headgear.

Sena MP Gajanan Babar has expressed regret over members of the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS), the student wing of the Sena, trying to remove the headgear of the principal. He, however, said he was not apologising for the protest.

BVS members had barged into the school and manhandled the school manager Father Benny and principal Sister Mary alleging that local students were being denied admission.

Babar said, “The Sainiks were protesting against denial of admissions to local students and interviews being held against state government norms. But it seems some members tried to remove the headgear of the nun. This is regrettable. It should not have happened. The headgear has religious significance.”

Babar said,“I have not apologised for the protest, but expressed regret over the headgear issue,” he said.

He said complaints have been filed with the police against BVS members and they were ready to face the consequences.

Catholic Association of Poona sees no logic in the protest. “The Sena’s contention is difficult to understand. Nearly 2,000 students of the school are locals belonging to different castes and religions. They come from Kalewadi and nearby areas. What is the Shiv Sena protesting against? There is no logic in the protest,” Catholic Association of Poona president Diago Almeida said.

Almeida said the high-handedness of the Sena in the admission process of a Christian-run school for their own personal gain is highly condemnable. “This amounts to taking the law into one’s own hands and threatening the minority community. In spite of the Minister of State for Home being from Pune, this incident has taken place,” he added.

Condemning the act, he demanded immediate action against those involved.

“The home department and police should take cognisance of this shameful act and take strong action.”

Meanwhile, Syro-Malabar Bishop of Kalyan diocese Mar Thomas Elivinal who visited the school on Sunday, also condemned the incident and demanded action against all those involved.

He said a united resistance to be put up against all such attempts. “We should fight against such injustice,” he said. PCMC corporator Babu Nair said Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh convened meetings to find a solution, but they were postponed twice. “The school has decided to fight tooth and nail any attempt to cow it down. Nobody should force their norms on others. The school does not discriminate against anybody. It has children from across the religious and caste divide,” he said.