Mob in saffron attacks Catholic school: Cases registered; father of student seeks punishment for all

The police informed that there was no disturbance near the school on 18 April and they have been constantly monitoring the situation.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Apr 18, 2024 | 7:15 PMUpdatedApr 18, 2024 | 7:16 PM

Attack on catholic school

On the day of Ram Navami, Wednesday, 17 April, a video of a saffron-clad group vandalising a catholic school went viral on social media. The video was from the Mother Teresa High School, in Kannepally village of Telangana’s Ramagundam district.

The issue started on Monday, 15 April, when a student of the school, who was in Hanuman Deeksha, was reportedly asked to wear a school uniform in order to sit for an exam.

The issue escalated on Tuesday, 16 April, when a group of people trespassed into the school after the school management did not respond to the child’s father.

The saffron-clad mob chanted “Jai Shri Ram” and forcibly applied “Tilak” on the school correspondent.

Also Read: Telangana school officials booked by police over ‘saffron dress’ row

Cases booked 

On Tuesday, following the violence, both sides — Gorre Thirupathi, the father of the child, and the school management — filed cases with an hour’s gap.

According to FIR accessed by South First, Jaimon Joseph, the correspondent of the school, identified the accused as Konda Naresh, Lakavath Sai, Kanaganti Kranthi Kumar, and Akkala Varshith, along with some others.

The FIR read: “The accused trespassed into the school and have made preparations for wrongfully restraining him while beating (him) with hands and damaged windows of classrooms, Mother Teresa statue and gates.”

The school management also accused the mob of property damage worth ₹30,000.

Jaimon Joseph further stated in the FIR that the accused alleged that the school was “unnecessarily harassing the students and also threatened how can I run the school”.

The police registered a case under IPC Sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 452 (House trespass having prepared to cause hurt, assault), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), and 143 read with Section 149.

Jaimon Joseph was not available to comment when approached by South First.

Based on the complaint filed by the child’s father on the same day, 16 April, a case under Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race) and 295 (A) (insulting the religious feelings) of the IPC was registered against the school officials.

What led to violence?

The child’s father, Gorre Thirupathi spoke to South First regarding the incident. He said, “On 15 April, my son told me that he was asked to wear the school uniform to write an exam. So, I went to school on 16 April to seek permission.”

He added: “But as I got out of the vehicle two sisters (school officials) shouted at my child, ‘Why have you come in civil dress, Father instructed you right. We cannot allow you to write the exam’.”

He explained further, “I waited for more than an hour for the correspondent, but he didn’t respond to my calls. Another relative of mine also tried contacting, but there was no response”

Thirupathi said it was then he approached another person who was also in Hanuman Deeksha with him.

“Hundreds of them came to the school and vandalized the property. It is wrong for anybody to be forced to follow another religion.”

Seeking justice, Thirupathi urged the police to check the CCTV footage and punish the culprits who made such videos asking school authorities to chant “Jai Shri Ram”.

He also seeks action against the school correspondent for not allowing his child with an orange deeksha uniform to enter the school.

“It is a religious belief and they cannot hurt it,” he asserts.

‘My children will go to the same school’

“Both my children have been studying in the same school since their nursery. We have never faced such issues in the past with other Fathers (school officials).”

Thirupathi’s children—son and daughter— are studying in fourth and ninth classes respectively. The incident happened with the son studying in the fourth class.

Thirupathi adds, “The school is just one kilometre away from my house, and I work hard to send them here, as it is a good school.”

He further questions, “Who would anyone want such religious violence? We respect theirs (religion) and they do ours.”

Asked if he would send his children to the same school, he reiterates, “All these years they were studying in this school and today (18 April) my children went to the same school and returned safely”

“If they are uncomfortable or face harassment from teachers or, authorities  I will change the school,” he said.

The Dandepally police informed that there was no disturbance near the school on 18 April and they have been constantly monitoring the situation.

Also Read: Hate songs, anti-Muslim rhetoric in Hyderabad Ram Navami rally led by BJP MLA Raja Singh

(Edited by Sumavarsha Kandula)