Home Cities Probe into Bible-in-school row hurtful, says Bengaluru archbishop

Probe into Bible-in-school row hurtful, says Bengaluru archbishop

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The archbishop of Bengaluru, Peter Machado, on Thursday expressed his disappointment over the Karnataka government’s launching of an inquiry into the latest Bible row in the southern state.

Machado said no student of any other religion had converted while studying in Christian schools, adding the inquiry into the usage of Bible in schools was painful for him.

“The education department has ordered an inquiry about whether the Bible is used or religion is taught in our (Christian) schools. I feel very hurt. We can bravely say that no student of other religion has become Christian in our school,” the archbishop was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Also read | Education minister: Bible, Quran religious texts, Gita speaks about values

He further said non-Christian students were not required to read the Bible and no Bible instructions were issued for them. “The education minister said Bhagavad Gita will be introduced next year as its moral education text, while Bible and Quran are supposed to be religious texts so they will not be allowed,” he added.

A fresh row, after the hijab controversy in classrooms, has erupted in Karnataka after it was alleged that a school in Bengaluru had taken an undertaking from parents that they would not object to their wards carrying the Bible to class.

A day ago, Karnataka education minister BC Nagesh said religious texts cannot be part of the curriculum, and Bhagavad Gita was more than just a religious book, unlike the Bible. 

“Bible and Quran are not allowed in schools as they are religious texts, and the block education officers have been asked to verify as there are some allegations that institutions run by Christians are asking children to carry Bible in bags and keep it with them during prayer. On their school websites they have asked to admit children only those who accept the Bible. Hence, we will look into these allegations. We are not interfering in their administrative matters,” he said.

Right-wing group Hindu Janajagruti Samiti had first raised the accusations and said the move violated articles 25 and 30 of the Constitution. Soon after, the block education officer arrived at the school to take stock of the situation. “I have come here to get a report from the school authority,” he said.

The principal of Clarence High School against whom the allegations were being said advocates were being consulted and the authorities would not break any law.

“We are aware that some people are upset about one of the policies of our school. We are a peace-loving and law-abiding school. We’ve consulted our advocates on this matter and we’ll follow their advice. We won’t break the law of the land,” Jerry George Mathew told ANI.

(With inputs from agencies)

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