Hindu teacher lost job for wearing sandalwood paste

published on December 24, 2005

A Christian missionary school in Bhopal is in the throes of a controversy after it sacked a Hindu teacher for wearing sandalwood paste on her forehead, according to an HPI report. 

Activists of the Hindu organization Bajrang Dal have taken up the case of the teacher and are up in arms against the school. Jyoti Sahasrabuddhe, 40, a computer science teacher at Saint Jones School in the Govindpura area of the city for the last 14 years, went to school on Monday with sandalwood paste smeared on her forehead. The principal, Suman Martin, allegedly objected to the paste and asked Sahasrabuddhe to wipe it off but she refused. This led to a heated argument between the two and the teacher tendered her resignation, the report said. 

She later filed a complaint at the Govindpura police station against Martin’s behavior. In her complaint Sahasrabuddhe said no teacher at the school was allowed to wear ‘bindi’ on her forehead. “Students are forcibly taught from the Bible in the name of prayers,” she said in the complaint. 

Sahasrabuddhe has also accused the school authorities of carrying out religious conversions. Bajrang Dal activists took up the matter after learning of the incident. “We have got complaints against this school earlier too. We were told that the Bible was read out to the students 
against their wishes. â€œThe students were also forced to read the Bible in the name of morning 
prayers,” Devendra Rawat, an office-bearer of the Bajranj Dal was quoted as saying. “We want that the teacher should be reinstated and the Bible should not be read out to the students. If the school management fails to do these two things, we will take action against them,” Rawat said.

 Martin could not be immediately contacted for comments. However, another teacher at the school said on the condition of anonymity that the school management had rejected 
Sahasrabuddhe’s resignation and she would be reinstated. “We are investigating the matter,” a police official at the Govindpura police station said. 

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