BJP, RSS want right-wing ide­o­logues to head ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes in J’khand

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - B Vi­jay Murty bmurty@hin­dus­tan­times.com (with agency in­puts)

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.

He also claimed she would be sent to Afghanistan or Syria, akin to 21 peo­ple miss­ing from Ker­ala who are sus­pected to have joined the Is­lamic State.

In May, the high court an­nulled their mar­riage and in Au­gust, the Supreme Court re­fused to stay the HC or­der and asked the NIA to probe the wed­ding. But weeks later, jus­tice T K Raven­dran who was as­signed to over­see the in­ves­ti­ga­tion with­drew, cit­ing per­sonal rea­sons. “There are many at­tempts to brand me as a ter­ror­ist. Many such un­known cases will come up in com­ing days to tar­nish me,” Ja­han told HT.

In his speech in Thiruvananthapuram, Alphons said the Modi gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing the wel­fare of the down­trod­den by build­ing houses for the home­less, pro­vid­ing elec­tric­ity in all vil­lages and build­ing toi­lets in all houses. “We are im­pos­ing taxes to help the poor. All money col­lected is not be­ing stolen by Union min­is­ters,” he said adding it was the pre­vi­ous UPA regime that stole the money.

“Those who own ve­hi­cle re­quire petrol also. I don’t think they have any prob­lem in find­ing their food. In In­dia at least 30% of the peo­ple are starv­ing. The Modi gov­ern­ment gives top pri­or­ity to im­prove their lot. So those who are us­ing fuel have to cough up tax also,” he said. This is not the first time Alphons has courted trou­ble since he was made a min­is­ter. Re­cently, he ad­vised for­eign tourists to eat beef in their coun­tries be­fore com­ing to In­dia.

The driver, Khatta Singh, had ini­tially tes­ti­fied against Singh in 2007 but changed his ver­sion in 2012.

Khatta Singh claimed he was liv­ing in the dera when the crimes were com­mit­ted and had “per­sonal knowl­edge” about the cir­cum­stances of the mur­ders.

Mean­while, Haryana Po­lice ar­rested on Fri­day the driver of Honeypreet Kaur, the con­tro­ver­sial adopted daugh­ter of Singh. Pradeep Ku­mar was de­tained from near the re­li­gious town of Salasar in Ra­jasthan.

PTI PHOTO

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

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