The illogical decision took everybody by surprise. Saint Francis Higher Secondary School is located in Jehangirabad, a Muslim-dominated locality where there is a sizable Hindu population also.
The school that mostly imparts education in Hindi medium, has attracted students from different communities and it has completed fifty years. But the Christian missionary school suddenly decided that there will be no further classes in Urdu and Sanskrit. Students were told that if they want to study the languages, they can go to other schools.
The order said that as per CBSE guidelines there was no such proposal. Hindu and Muslim organizations have both protested the decision. While Urdu was the state language of Bhopal during the Nawabi rule and continues to be a prominent language, Sanskrit is the classical language and considered sacred by Hindus.
The Sanskriti Bachao Manch, a social outfit, staged a demonstration. Its activists even threatened to launch a mass protest against the highly objectionable and disgusting decision of the convent school. They condemned the conspiracy to deprive students of their culture. Other groups have also termed the diktat to close Urdu, Sanskrit classes as a reflection of communal mindset.
Update: After public condemnation, the school changed its tune. Principal Brother Lucianus Lakra said that the educational institute would continue Urdu and Sanskrit courses for students, as per 'CBSE guidelines'. Apparently, the decision has been reversed now. One has to wait and see. But the arbitrary decisions that affect hundred of students and their career has shown the institution in poor light.
|News published in Hindi evening paper Pradesh Today|
A State police order that asked police in all districts to conduct a survey about Christians living in the area of jurisdiction of each police station, has led to outrage after the secret directive was leaked and newspaper got access to the document.
The secret letter directed that there should be a survey conducted to ascertain the record of each Christian-run institution, number of students studying in the schools, missionary activity and even Christian households at tehsil level in Madhya Pradesh.
The exercise surprised Christians as policemen approached. Secondly, with Census 2011 over, they got suspicious as they were once again being asked about the population and other data. This time it was forceful and in some cases, the clergymen were threatened by police.
Now that the document came in public, the State government is silent. Top officers say that the police has been directed not to collect any such data now.
But they don't utter a word as to why was such a religious profiling ordered in the first place and on whose directions, it was initiated.
Congress has termed the order as unconstitutional and said that it is part of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) agenda to hound the minorities in the BJP-ruled state. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also said that an inquiry would be conducted to find out how this surve was ordered.
The owners had put up hundreds of hoardings with the claim that they would expose bigwigs and the corrupt. In this regard, the the new 'eveninger' is yet to make any serious or sensational disclosure after its launch.
But it should be welcomed as it has ended the domination of evening newspaper market by the old 'Sandhya Prakash'. Sandhya Prakash was considered a pro-RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) newspaper but the reality is that it mainly has a bent towards BJP as it is the ruling party and for advertisements, it can go any far. Sandhya Prakash is mostly pro-establishment.
Unlike Indore, which has many newspapers that are published in afternoon and evening, Bhopal doesn't have such culture or readership. Agniban, Fine Times, Pradesh Times are small players and don't have much impact due to low circulation. Pradesh Today is attractive, colourful and has much more pages. It has some content also.
But Pradesh Today should be more aggressive in its journalism. If it goes about doing real 'patrakarita', it will give a tough competition to other papers, expand the market and also in process force Sandhya Prakash to improve its content and publish balanced and unbiased reports.
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