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Bengaluru school Bible row: How many students have converted in the last hundred years, says Archbishop

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Bengaluru, Apr 28: Archbishop Peter Machado on Thursday asked the Karnataka government to inquire into the number of students, who studied at Christian schools and have converted to Christianity in the last 100 years, as he defended the institution, which allegedly insisted on carrying or studying Bible as part of the curriculum.

Bengaluru school Bible row: How many students have converted in the last hundred years, says Archbishop

He said the institution conducted Bible or religious classes for Christian students before or after the school hours, and such a practice that required them to carry Bible existed in the past, but not now. Clarence High School, which has been served a notice by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education said it has sought the opinion of legal advisors to respond to it. "...there is nothing like the Bible or religious education. We impart the same education to everyone. We cannot differentiate between spirituality and morality ," Machado told reporters here.

Noting that 75 per cent students studying in the Clarence school are Christians, he said, "it was prescribed that Bible be brought because, in our Christian institutions we have religion class for Christian students either before or after the class..." "However, from last year onwards the management has seen to it that no mention is made about the Bible at all and so the Children if they want they can bring," he added. Referring to the education department order to conduct an inquiry to ascertain whether the Bible was used and religion was taught in schools, the Bishop said, "it is not concerning only this school, but all Christian schools in Karnataka.

To take it from one school and paint all schools in the same colour is not right." "If the government wants to probe, surely conduct an inquiry in this school, and one of the questions they should put forth is how many students have converted in the last hundred years, how many of them have become Christians," he added. There are also allegations that the school asked parents to give an undertaking that they have no objection to the study of the Bible by their children. Some parents have objected to it, following which the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti complained to Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, B C Nagesh, seeking an investigation.

Principal of the School, Jerry George Mathew said the allegations made of a conduct other than subscribing to the discipline and culture of the school voluntarily, is only an "unfortunate misinterpretation". The school is conscious of its responsibility, and declaration that is sought at the time of admission is only as per law, he said, adding that "we have also sought the considered opinion of our legal advisors in order to respond to the legitimately issued show cause notice by the Block Education Officer." PTI

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