A banner put up outside the Virar school on Tuesday
The management of Christ Primary School located at Gadgapada, Chandansar Road, Virar (East), filed an application against the attack with Virar police. While the police have acknowldged the application, no case has been registered.
Parents told TOI that their children are doing well in the school and no conversion has taken place as alleged. The parents said the school charges minimum fees, making it possible for them to impart English education to their children. There are more than 250 students from economically backward sections in the school that is affiliated to the Maharashtra state board.
Earlier, on February 24, too, the House of Prayer’s Church that runs the school on the same premises was targeted by members of the International Hindu Parishad. The church, which was registered in 1992 and has around 250 members, has since discontinued its weekly two-hour Sunday prayer.
The parishad has now put up a banner outside the school asking parents to not admit their children to the school alleging forced conversions. The school that has divisions from Class I to V was set up in 2014. It operates from 8am to 1.30pm and the school management lives in “constant fear of attack”.
School administrator Nilesh Thakur told TOI that they were in the process of seeking fresh admissions for the next academic year on Tuesday when a mob attacked the school. He said unknown persons also put up banners outside the school and even broke its glass windowpanes.
Thakur said the banner has put up names of the parishad and the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal. Another banner that says the school has been shut down has also been put up in the vicinity, said Thakur. He added parents have given it in writing that no conversions have been taking place in the school and that it only imparts quality English education to poor students from the locality. The mob, though, accused its 14-odd staff, including teachers, of converting students during school hours.
The school is in the process of starting a secondary section. Thakur said parents are being threatened and forced to withdraw their children from the school.
In February, a mob had targeted the school while a prayer was in progress. Around 45 devotees were present. At least four of them, including three women, had sustained injuries in the assault. A case was registered then under Indian Penal Code sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult) and 506 (criminal intimidation) against six, including a woman. No arrest was made. The attackers, too, registered a complaint against the school staff, alleging assault. A few of the school staff were arrested and released on bail.
The school management has named a few locals who have been “creating tension” in the locality. School authorities said that while preventive arrests are being made due to the Lok Sabha election, no action is being taken against these men.
Police confirmed that they have received a complaint from the school, adding that an investigation is on.