Madhya Pradesh Shuts Christian Student Hostel

Published 21 September 2017  |  
United Christian Forum of India
Christians protest for their rights.

In another incident of harassment against Christian minority in India, the government on Sept. 12 has shut down a Christian student hostel in Guna district, Madhya Pradesh.

The district administration sealed the two-decade old school, citing a discrepancy over its title to the property, including accusations that the school was trying to convert its residents to Christianity.

The hostel students belonging to the country's marginalized tribal community were forced to a government boarding, "ignoring our pleas against such a move," said Fr Siljo Kidangan.

On Sept. 19, Kidangan told the media that the incident was yet another state-sponsored violence against Christians.

"We have been offering hostel facilities for students from poor families who study in a nearby government school. Among them brilliant students were picked up admitted to good schools for better education," said Kidangan, according to Crux.

"But now the administration under mounting pressure from the right-wing Hindu groups, sealed the hostel and shifted the boys on the ground that our land record missed a signature from the district collector," he added.

According to the priest, the government advantage of a clerical error in the property filing, and utilized it to grasp the property. Now the diocese is said to appeal the decision in court.

Madhya Pradesh, dominated by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, is one of the states which have an anti-conversion law. The state uses the law to target religious minorities.

"This is only persecution of the minorities, the groups want to chase away Catholics from the area, additionally they want to close down the hostel. The police investigated the allegations that 200 people were converted, and the police have concluded that the conversion allegations are completely false," said Bishop Anthony Chirayath of the Syro-Malabar Diocese of Sagar.

"Secondly, the hostel land belongs to us. All the hostel documents are valid and legal and this too has been verified by the police after investigations," he added.

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