BJP, RSS want right­wing ed­u­ca­tion­ists to head in­sti­tutes

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - NATION - B Vi­jay Murty bmurty@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The BJP and its ide­o­log­i­cal foun­tain­head RSS on Satur­day de­cided to press the Jhark­hand gov­ern­ment to bring more peo­ple who subscribe to their ide­ol­ogy to head ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions in the state amid al­le­ga­tions of “saf­fro­ni­sa­tion of ed­u­ca­tion”.

The move is per­ceived as an at­tempt to pre­vent the growth of ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions run by Chris­tian mis­sion­ar­ies who have been work­ing in the state’s ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors for decades.

The con­tentious de­ci­sion was taken at a joint meet­ing of BJP, Rashtriya Swayam­se­wak Sangh (RSS), Akhil Bharatiya Vid­h­yarthi Par­ishad (ABVP), Seva Bharati, Vid­hya Bharati and Vishwa Hindu Par­ishad (VHP) chaired by BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah.

The Raghubar Das-led BJP gov­ern­ment ear­lier this year rechris­tened the state’s old­est ‘Ranchi Col­lege’ to ‘Dr Shyama Prasad Mukher­jee Univer­sity’.

Mukher­jee was the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangha, the fore­run­ner to the BJP.

The re­nam­ing sparked an­gry protests from tribal stu­dents, who ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of “saf­fro­nis­ing” higher ed­u­ca­tion by sup­press­ing stu­dents’ opin­ion and is­su­ing dik­tats to please the RSS.

The meet­ing, held at the RSS of­fice in Ranchi’s Ni­waran­pur, also asked the gov­ern­ment to scrap af­fil­i­a­tion of ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions that are al­legedly di­rectly or in­di­rectly en­gaged in re­li­gious con­ver­sion.

“The gov­ern­ment has strong ev­i­dences against some Chris­tian af­fil­i­ate in­sti­tu­tions, uni­ver­si­ties that are en­cour­ag­ing con­ver­sions. And their num­bers are in­creas­ing by the day. It’s high time that the gov­ern­ment check their growth,” a se­nior RSS leader, who at­tended the meet­ing, told HT.

The meet­ing em­pha­sised on im­prov­ing the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion in both ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas by deput­ing of­fi­cials who be­lieve in the Sangh’s ide­ol­ogy at the helm of the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, sources in the RSS and BJP said emerg­ing from the meet­ing.

Apart from se­nior BJP lead­ers, the meet­ing was at­tended by se­nior RSS func­tionar­ies Ram Dutt Chakrad­had­har, Ravi Shankar, Rakesh Lal and Ra­jiv Ka­mal Bittu.

The meet­ing also hailed the 1,000-day old Raghubar Das gov­ern­ment for its de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce the con­tro­ver­sial anti-con­ver­sion law, and re­solved to im­ple­ment the same ef­fec­tively.

The Jhark­hand Re­li­gious Free­dom Act, 2017, re­stricts re­li­gious con­ver­sion. As per its pro­vi­sions, any­one found vi­o­lat­ing the leg­is­la­tion would be im­pris­oned for three years and fined ₹50,000 or both, and four-year im­pris­on­ment and ₹1 lakh fine, or both, if the per­son con­verted is a mi­nor, woman, or a Sched­uled Caste or Sched­uled Tribe.

PTI PHOTO

BJP na­tional pres­i­dent Amit Shah dis­trib­utes LPG cylin­ders at 'Garib Kalyan Mela' in Ranchi on Satur­day.

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