Hindutva right-wing organisations are planning raids on Christian institutions across the state in backward districts such as Bijapur, Bidar and Raichur.
They are intrigued by the large presence of students from Mangalore living in such institutions. They have many questions for which there are no answers from government officials.
“Our questions to the social welfare department have not been answered. The department officials have not found out why such large number of children are coming to Mangalore from great distances and why they are lodged here in hideous places without basic facilities,” said district president of Bajrang Dal Jagadish Shenva.
“In the coming days, our colleagues in Bidar, Bijapur and Raichur will investigate into the en-masse movement of children to Mangalore,” Shenva said.
Teachers of these institutions have the answer to their questions.
“We’ve found that they are the children of first generation religious converts in backward districts. They were sent here for Christian upbringing as their parents are illiterates and ignorant. They might have been converted due to social needs but their children should not suffer poverty, hunger, ignorance and ill health like their parents did,” said a teacher serving in one of the congregations.
Lynette AC, provincial superior, Apostolic Carmel, Karnataka Province, said Stella Maris Orphanage is managed by the sisters of Apostolic Carmel Congregation and the 41 children were the inmates of Stella Maris Orphanage, Kotekar, and that they hailed from Bidar district. They are also the students of Stella Maris Primary School managed by the sisters.
The child welfare committee constituted by the social welfare department found that the children were indeed bonafide students of Stella Maris School. The chairperson of the committee Asha Nayak had given permission to the children to go to Bidar for being with their families for summer vacation. But the deputy director of the social welfare department Shakuntala Gowda had not permitted the children to leave without further enquiry into the
Sister Lynette said, “We have incurred a loss of `25,000 paid to the transport company towards hiring a bus to take the children to Bidar.”
In the meantime, the assistant commissioner of Mangalore Prabhulinga Kavalkatti went through the rule book and found out that such mass movement of children for educational purpose or otherwise needs to be cleared by the deputy commissioner of Bidar district and a document to that effect was not available with the children’s escort Sister Jyothi Maria.