The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Munda chooses south for school

Ranchi, July 10: Jharkhand, especially Ranchi and Jamshedpur, has been known for an excellent array of mission schools for decades, more so with the RSS and the DAV chipping in liberally with their educational institutions. But when it comes to chief minister Arjun Munda, Bangalore is better.

Munda today completed the formalities of admitting his eldest son in the renowned Bishop Cotton Boys’ School in the Karnataka capital, barely a month after he, along with two prominent BJP leaders, had lashed out at the “role” of the mission in fanning the May 27 disturbances.

Four people were killed as police opened fire when pro-domicile protesters tried to raid some centres where examinations to recruit primary teachers were being held.

Incidentally, the son of the chief minister’s political mentor and now BJP leader, Shailendra Mahto, is also a student of the Bangalore school. Munda’s eldest son Abhishek has been admitted to Class IV of the school, where, sources said, Mahto’s son studies in a senior class.

The chief minister’s press adviser, Harendra Kumar Singh, who is travelling with him, said from Bangalore that the admission formalities had been completed and they were likely to return to Ranchi tomorrow.

Founded in 1865 by the St. Marks Church chaplain, the much sought-after school now comes under the Church of South India’s Karnataka central diocese. The bishop of the Karnataka central diocese is the ex-officio chairman of the school’s board of management. The school got its name from Bishop Cotton of Calcutta, under whose stewardship a scheme of education was organised for the Anglican churches in India. Jharkhand, too, has a range of Bishop schools.

Relations between the mission and the RSS, which is seen as the intellectual guardian of the BJP, have always been tense in the region, especially in the Chotanagpur belt.

They hit a nadir after the Hindutva brigade openly targeted the missionaries after the May 27 trouble. Munda questioned the role of the mission through a public statement but fell silent as the government ordered an inquiry into the disturbances. The inquiry report is awaited.

Munda is on an official tour of Bangalore and a statement issued by his press adviser said the chief minister was impressed with the strides made by the Congress-ruled state, especially in the field of information technology. IT secretary R.S. Sharma is accompanying Munda.

“The chief minister today visited various centres of information and made a minute study. He also visited the tehsils of Bangalore where he saw how the Karnataka government had prepared computerised land records with help from the National Informatics Centre. The Karnataka government has got records prepared for 20 million hectares of land,” Singh said.

Munda also visited the Bangalore centre of Microsoft and “tried to know from the director how its skills could be adapted for Jharkhand”.

“The chief minister appeared serious over how he can get, within seconds, information provided to his office in Ranchi when he is out of Jharkhand. He also visited Electronic City, which has been built over two lakh sq. metres,” the communique said.

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