Christian groups threaten to shut Catholic schools across state and Shut School with Few Catholics

Christian groups threaten to shut Catholic schools across stateIndian Express‎ – 7 hours ago

Dipti Sonwala : Sat Jun 30 2012, 02:29 hrs

Christian organisations across the state have threatened to close down Catholic schools in Maharashtra as a sign of protest after the Education department ordered a First Information Report (FIR) against the management of St Mary’s School in Mazgaon for not refunding capitation fees collected from parents.

Four NGOs — Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF) and Catholics for the Preservation of the Faith (CPF) — have come together to support St Mary’s School.

“Principals and managements of Catholic schools are being victimised. The order to file an FIR has been passed just when admissions are going on, which gives rise to much speculation about the dubious motive of the department,” said Joseph Dias, general secretary of CSF.

“We have called Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop, to close down all Catholic schools as a mark of protest against the education department as principals are facing harassment from the department and also from politicians,” he said.

The CSF has even started a helpline for principals who are “victimised” or pressurised. The organisations have also urged the School Education Minister to intervene in the matter and take action against concerned officials. “If the authorities fail to take action then we would be compelled to take to the streets. How can the Director of Education instruct that an FIR be registered against the school when the issue is still pending in the court?” asked Agnello Fernandes, MCYF president.

According to the education department, it was found that the school had been collecting money from students towards fines and funds like teachers’ benefit fund, primary teachers’ gratuity fund, etc. The school also collected lifetime membership fees for Parent-Teachers Association from parents.

Following complaints and after an inspection of the school, the education department had de-recognised the school on May 24, 2011, over charges of illegal collection of Rs 1.45 crore and for manipulating exam results, besides other offences. The school challenged the order in the Bombay HC.

The HC stayed the de-recognition process, but directed the school to refund an amount of Rs 1.45 crore to parents within a month or face disciplinary action. The management of St.Mary’s School then moved court in April against the order passed by the Director of School Education asking them to refund Rs 1.45 crore.

When contacted, Dr Shridhar Salunkhe said order to file an FIR is according to rule. “We are free to take action against the school for offence they have committed. The matter is in court, but the court has not restrained us from taking action against the school management,” said Salukhe.

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Shut schools with few Catholics‘ – Mumbai – News | News 

www.dnasyndication.com/showarticlerss.aspx?nid…/rjM=
2 hours ago – Following the education department’s filing of FIRs against principals of St Mary’s Schoolin Mazgaon and St Elias School in Khar, Christian 


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
This entry was posted in Association of Concerned Catholics, Church in India, Church News in Mumbai/Thane/Navi Mumbai. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Christian groups threaten to shut Catholic schools across state and Shut School with Few Catholics

  1. judith says:

    Catholic Schools are targeted every year by locals & politicial parties alike. Despite being fully aware that there are no more seats, morchas & goodaism goes on at the gates & sometimes even in the premises at school offices.

    A couple of years back Canossa Convent,mahim was at the receiving end (i think even the school walls were blackened by protesters), last year St Elias School was targeted. This year it is St Mary’s School. These schools were in the limelight so everyone is aware.What about the scenario at all Catholic schools every year ? it is common knowledge & a common sight to see a police van outside our Catholic schools at the time of admission. Does one see these police vans outside other schools too ? Maybe we should ask ourselves why not ?

    Last year too a call was given to shut down our schools in protest against the harassment to our Priests & Nuns. 2 weeks back a group of us warned a group of political partyworkers who came in a mob of 100 on 2 days & threatened the school authoities & premises. We told them that we would take a morcha to the Archbishop demanding that the schools be shut & used for other purposes like housing, etc for the community. We even questioned them as to why they did not lead a protest outside the BMC schools shut in the area.

    We see political partyworkers who have their children in the school but yet raise slogans supporting their party decisions. How many of our Catholics suport the very same schools that they & their generations have passed out from ? We have PTA’s in schools , where are these PTA members when the schools are attacked ? Try shutting the schools for a week & the parents will be the first to question the school; where are these same parents when the schoolis are attacked for weeks & the safety of their children attending school is at stake? If each Standard has 200 children , 10 standards will have a minimum 2000 studens, where are all the parents of these students when the school is being attacked while their children are in ? God forbid if a child gets hurt on the school premises the authorities & the safety measures adopted by the school are questioned & blamed, Why dont these parents question those attacking the school.

    Our Catholics too are to be blamed. When there is a problem in our lives we run to the priest / nuns to solve our problems. When the same priests / nuns are attacked for no fault of theirs other than a few handful, how many Catholics run to their rescue ? The problem lies in the “susegad mentality” of our Community. We take the “cowardly way out” while hiding behind the garb of “peace loving” & other such titles

    Do we really need so many schools even though our population is dwindling in the areas as the laity are moving to the suburbs ? “Charity begins at home” with our own members & then should sread to others. What charity are we doing if we are catering to others neglecting our own ? Our own are in need of food, shelter, are we fulfilling these needs of theirs ? Even if we cater to more colleges & institutions , to fill in the seats we will have the same admission rush , same problems, same accusations of bribes, etc. Why cant the spaces be used for providing housing facilities for our Community members – houses at affordable rates ? During my tenure as Trustee in Salvation Church, dadar; I had suggested that affordable houses be provided with preference given to those parishioners (& then other catholics) not already living on Church premises, with the help of banks loaan facilities for these houses could be made available. Besides, there are a no of Catholice who lost jobs in the mill strikes, etc suggestion was to open small scale job facilities for the men / women to help them earn a living – eg set up sewing machines in a room where the wommen can sew nighties, dresses, baby frocks, etc , cooking skills can be utilised & a tiffin service can be set up so that these peole would have at least some job at hand.. Basic typing / computer classes at affordable rates. Help in loan facilities so that our loess fortunate youth can join professional courses eg teaching, welding, refrigerator / machine / electrical courses or even banking courses.. Simle suggestions which can change the lives of our brethren. Can our Church authorities not implement such oportunities ?

    I hope the Church looks into providing for its Community – ie Charity begins at home & concentrates on upliftment of our Community members just as other Communities do.

    judith monteiro
    dadar (w)
    member AOCC

    • Shri Amit Diwakar Ranade says:

      I am a Hindu, not a church-goer and I didn’t attend a convent school. Yet I share your concern on the rising number of threats to the convent schools. I oppose any kind of interference by politicians. However the fact that there is a general neglect of the basic needs of Christians by the Church, while schools where fewer Christian students attend are run at full capacity indicates, that the school management might actually be making a lot of money via donations (both official and unofficial/illegal/under the table etc). I have heard stories from friends that meeting and paying so and so person will get your son a seat in school. Therefore it might be wrong to altogether call it an attack on the Convent if the government decides to look at allegations. Please do not take my views as anti-church.

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