A Hindutva mob vandalised a school run by a Christian congregation in Telangana’s Mancherial district on Tuesday after the principal told some Hindu students not to wear saffron-coloured clothes to class without permission, reported The Indian Express.

The incident occurred in St Mother Teresa English Medium School in Kannepalli village. The principal had reportedly asked the Hindu students, who were wearing saffron clothes in observance of the religious custom of Hanuman Deeksha, to bring their parents to school.

On Tuesday, a discussion between the parents and the school administration turned violent.

“The principal told the students to come in uniform and that if they wanted to wear saffron clothes, they had to get permission,” Mancherial Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Kumar told the newspaper. “That triggered the parents.”

He added: “It was a Tuesday and there was a temple nearby and all this escalated and led to vandalism.” Tuesday is a popular day in Hinduism for praying to the deity Hanuman.

Videos of the incident that were shared on social media showed a mob in saffron clothes vandalising the school amid cries of “Jai Sri Ram”. The mob assaulted school principal, smeared vermillion on his face and forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” as well.

“It was a miscommunication and false news was spread on social media leading to over 500 people reaching the school on Tuesday morning,” Father Jaimon Joseph, a member of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament that runs the school told The Indian Express. He said that the vandalism continued for nearly four hours and alleged that the attack was pre-planned.

“Had their [students’] parents even telephoned us, we would have granted the permission,” Joseph said. “On Tuesday morning, one of the students still came in saffron clothes and we did not stop the student. By then, a huge mob came to school and attacked us.”

The police have registered two first information reports based on complaints by the parents and the school administration. A student’s parents said in their complaint that his son and two of his classmates studying in Class 4 were not allowed to enter the school as they were wearing a “Hanuman Mala deeksha” dress.

The parents alleged that the school’s principal intentionally insulted their religious sentiments and promoted enmity between religions. The school administration in their complaint named four suspects for trespassing, wrongfully restraining the school principal and physically assaulting him. They said that a statue of Mother Teresa, along with the school’s gates, had been damaged by the mob and claimed a loss of worth Rs 30,000.

The incident was condemned by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as “abhorrent and unjustifiable”.

“We urge the authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of minority communities,” the party said in a post on social media.