Pimpri, Sun, Dec 6 05:36 AM The student wing of the Shiv Sena on Saturday manhandled the manager and the principal of Alphonsa School, an English medium institution at Kalewadi in Pimpri-Chinchwad and created a ruckus for nearly an hour bringing the admission process to a halt.
Activists of the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS) carried out the attack claiming it was not admitting local children, an allegation the school said was false as 90 per cent of the students happened to be locals.
BVS activists, including women, roughed up the manager of the school, Father Benny, and principal, Sister Mary and some of them allegedly tried to remove the headgear of Sister Mary during the scuffle.
The ruckus continued till Sangvi police reached the place and brought things under control. Three BVS activists and a local leader of the women’s wing of the Shiv Sena were held in connection with the incident.
"The admission process was on. The staff were interacting with parents who wanted to admit their children. Around 10.30 am, a group of 10 to 15 BVS workers including women came to the school and started shouting slogans. Some of them snatched the files from the principal. They manhandled the staff and the principal, forcing us to stop the admission process," said Father Benny, who added, "We don’t take donations. Only a reasonable fee is charged. So, for the 150 seats in junior kindergarten, we had received about 400 applications."
"BVS members claimed we were not admitting local students. But the fact is that out of the 2,000 students in our school, about 1,800 are locals," he added.
But BVS city unit chief Ajay Patade later said that the school was ignoring local students. "We asked the school staff to show us the files. But they did not. When we got the files in our hands, we found cancellation marks before the names of local children," Patade told mediapersons.
"Local children from poor families should get an opportunity to study in English medium schools. Also, there was no need to interview parents. Those who apply first should be given admission," he added.
Slamming the BVS, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation corporator Babu Nair said, "Attacking minority institutions like this is reprehensible. The act is highly condemnable as the attackers even tried to remove the principal’s headgear that holds a religious significance. We demand that the police take stringent action."