The principal of a school in Maharashtra’s Pune district was assaulted on Tuesday allegedly by members of a Hindutva outfit who claimed that students had been asked to sing a Christian prayer, the police said.
They also objected to closed-circuit television cameras in the passages of the girls’ and boys’ washrooms. However, Police Inspector Ranjit Sawant of the Talegaon MIDC area said that the cameras to which they objected “were not inside the cubicles but outside in the passage”.
A video shared widely on social media shows Alexander Coates Reid, the principal of the DY Patil High School in Pune’s Talegaon Dabhade town, being chased by a mob shouting “Har Har Mahadev”.
Reid is seen in a torn shirt as he runs up the stairs of a building. A person in the mob then assaults him but is stopped by the others.
Police Inspector Ranjit Sawant said that a few parents, accompanied by a group belonging to a Hindutva outfit, assaulted Reid and tore his clothes.
They also claimed that the students were asked to sing a Christian prayer every morning. “It is a common prayer that starts with ‘Oh Lord’,” Sawant said. “The parents said it is a verse from the Bible. But there is nothing in the prayer that hints at conversion or anything from the Bible.”
The police inspector said authorities are inquiring into the matter based on the application submitted by a parent. “The school has not registered a complaint,” he said. “We may take preventive action against those who assaulted the principal.”
A school official who declined to be identified told Scroll that the incident occurred on Tuesday when a group of nearly 100 men stormed into the school.
They tore the principal’s clothes “and made false accusations”, this person said. “The police arrived and brought everything under control”.
He added: “The teachers and all students are in full support of the principal.”
Corrections and clarifications: This report has been updated to add more details and clarify the position of the CCTV camera.