Minister’s statements stoke Damoh school ‘conversion’ controversy

Madhya Pradesh School Education Minister Inder Singh Parmar suspects links to terror, school’s role in alleged conversion, and local authorities

June 06, 2023 09:16 pm | Updated 09:16 pm IST - RAIPUR

Representational file image.

Representational file image. | Photo Credit: PTI

Madhya Pradesh School Education Minister Inder Singh Parmar said it had emerged that some teachers of the Damoh school — its recognition was suspended last week following allegations of non-Muslim students wearing hijab and reciting Muhammad Iqbal’s ‘Lab pe dua’  — had changed their religion. He even expressed the possibility of links between the school management and terrorists. 

“If any faith other than their own is imposed on minor children who go to an institution and cannot make their own decisions, then the role of the school is suspicious. Now it’s coming to light that teachers have also done it [conversion]... I understand that if adults are also being converted there. It means that religious conversion activities are also being conducted there. It becomes clear,” he said. 

“And this is why I say that in the name of school, there were not only religious conversion activities, it is also possible that they have links to terrorists,” he said, adding that the persons running the school had a beedi making business. 

On Monday (June 5), BJP State president V.D. Sharma had flagged the religious conversion issue and demanded that the links between “love jihad” and terror be probed. 

“I noticed that two female teachers who had the surname Khare had become Khans. Our sisters were forced to change their religion because they were under pressure from the school management.  The jihadi empire that they have created should be probed,” Mr. Sharma said. 

Three out of the 60-odd teachers of the school, who are at the centre of the conversion controversy, told journalists that they had all joined the Ganga Jamuna School after converting to Islam and the school management had nothing to do with it. 

“My name is Anita Khan, and earlier it was Anita Yaduvanshi. I got married in 2013 and joined the school in 2021. So, as far as my religious conversion is concerned, [school manager] Haji Mohammad Idris sir had no role in it,” one of the teachers said. The other two teachers said that they had married and converted long before the school had opened (in 2010 and 2012, according to different versions).

While the three teachers submitted memorandums to this effect at the Damoh Collectorate, Mr. Parmar accused the Damoh Collector and the District Education Officer — who had given a clean cheat to the school after a preliminary probe into the matter when the hijab controversy first surfaced — of providing patronage to the school. 

The District Education Officer (DEO), S.K. Mishra, has also been removed from his post. 

Prima facie, the DEO is guilty as he tried to give wrong information. He should have regularly conducted checks at the school that he failed to do, and even as the matter was brought to light by media and social organisations, the report given by him is serious as he tried to give them a clean chit,” Mr. Parmar said. 

Earlier, a group of people threw ink at the DEO and raised slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ . Mr. S.K. Mishra said that those who had thrown ink on him were speaking about the Ganga Jamuna School issue. He added that he had recognised a few faces among them, and that they had outstanding bills pertaining to the maintenance and repair of some schools. “It is likely that they had indulged in the act to avenge the same,” he said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.