School management denies claims of religious conversion
Decrying attempts to “hijack for political reasons” the recent death of a Grade XII schoolgirl, who was studying at a missionary-run Christian institution in Thanjavur district, the Franciscan Sisters of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have denied allegations of religious conversions in schools run by the agency. The girl was being held in the home of a school run by the organization.
In a statement released on behalf of the collective leadership of the schools following “rumors spreading” about the girl’s death, Reverend Sr. Fatima Paula, Superior General, Immaculate Heart of Mary Generalate, Puduchery, described the allegations as groundless and said the institutions had never faced such allegations in the past.
“Thousands of students who have studied in our establishments testify to this. Our schools are run according to the principles enshrined in the Constitution and on the basis of humanism, rising above the religious identities of our students. To denigrate our social commitment and to incriminate our institutions with lies is deplorable,” she argued.
The management, she said, would give their full support to the investigation by the police and the school education department as the girl, in her statement, had made allegations against the manager of the hostel. . “It is regrettable that some sections have picked up and tried to divert the tragic incident for political reasons. Attempts to tarnish and denigrate our service through lies continue,” she said.
The school, where the girl studied, was opened 160 years ago, and the hostel had been operating for 90 years. The girl was a class 8 school hostel inmate and scored 489 out of 500 in the SSLC exam. “Even on vacation, she preferred to stay with us without going home. She grew up like our child and her death is a great loss for us,” she said as she offered her condolences to the girl’s parents and family.
“Our institution has been providing educational services for over 180 years. He was at the forefront of contributing to the education and liberation of women. We run Tamil middle schools in villages and hamlets and work dedicatedly to serve the programmed class, backward classes and other oppressed sections deprived of education by the society. We provide secular education to all and do not interfere with anyone’s religious beliefs. We respect the faith of all and that is the basic premise of our public life,” said Rev.Sr. Paula supported. She urged people to reject the allegations made against the organization.