Decrying attempts to “divert for political reasons” the recent death of a class XII school girl, who studied in a Christian missionary-run institution in Thanjavur district, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation has denied allegations of religious conversions in schools run by the organisation. The girl was an inmate of the hostel of a school run by the organisation.
In a statement issued on behalf of the schools’ collective management in the wake of “rumours being spread” over the death of the girl, Rev. Sr.Fatima Paula, Superior General, Immaculate Heart of Mary Generalate, Puduchery, described the allegations as baseless and said the institutions had never faced such allegation in the past.
“Lakhs of students who had studied in our institutions stand testimony to this. Our schools are run on the principles enshrined in the Constitution and on the basis of humanism, rising above the religious identities of our students. Denigrating our social commitment and incriminating our institutions through falsehood are deplorable,” she contended.
The management, she said, would extend full support to the inquiry taken up by the police and School Education Department as the girl, in her statement, had made allegations against the hostel warden. “It is regrettable that some sections have taken up and trying to divert the tragic incident for political reasons. Attempts to tarnish and denigrate our service through falsehood continue,” she claimed.
The school, where the girl studied, was started 160 years ago and hostel was functioning for the past 90 years. The girl was an inmate of the school hostel from Class 8 and had scored 489 out of 500 marks in SSLC exam. “Even on holidays, she preferred to stay with us without going home. She grew up as our child and her death is a great loss to us,” she said extending her condolence to the girl’s parents and relatives.
“Our institution has been rendering educational service for over 180 years. It has been in the forefront in contributing towards women’s education and liberation. We are running Tamil medium schools in villages and hamlets and working with dedication to serve the Scheduled Class, Backward Classes and other oppressed sections, denied education by the society. We provide secular education to all and do not interfere in the religious beliefs of anyone. We respect the faith of all and this is the basic premise of our public life,” Rev.Sr. Paula contended. She urged people to reject the allegations made against the organisation.