India | 16 May 2022

India: Karnataka government orders probe into Catholic-run school

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According to UCA News reporting on 29 April 2022, the Karnataka government has ordered a probe into a Catholic-run school in Bengaluru after it "allegedly sought an undertaking from its Class 11 students that they "˜will have no objection to attending classes including morning assembly scripture class for his/her own moral and spiritual welfare and will not object to carrying the Bible and Hymn Book during his/her stay at Clarence High School."" Since just under a quarter of pupils at the school are non-Christian, right-wing Hindu activists have claimed that this is evidence of compulsory study of the Bible and attempted religious conversion. World Watch Research analyst Rolf Zeegers comments: "The Christian community runs approximately 1,000 schools in Karnataka State and the pressure on them (as well as on the Christian and Muslim communities in general) has increased ever since the BJP came to power in May 2018. The probe into the school in Belgaluru is the most recent in a series of events highlighting the growing Religious nationalism in the state:
  • 23 December 2021: ‚ Anti-conversion legislation was passed in Karnataka"s parliament (The Indian Express, 23 December 2021).
  • 27 December 2021: A college principal in Udupi received instructions from the authorities that girls wearing a hijab should not be allowed to attend classes (The News Minute, 19 January 2022). Petitions against this action were dismissed by the High Court in March 2022 (The Minute News, 15 March 2022).
  • March 2022: Hindu groups launched a campaign against halal products and loudspeakers on mosques (The Minute News, 1 April 2022). It is claimed that many leaders of the ruling BJP have endorsed the boycotts.
It would seem that the state government is determined to oppose Muslims and Christians at any point and level. As the central government is not doing anything to prevent this, non-Hindus in Karnataka will continue to face difficult times."


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