Teacher: Hindus will go to hell

Durban school lands in controversy over religious remarks

Durban 29 Oct: A high school here, which created a row in recent past over an Indian-origin girl wearing a nose ring, has now been plunged into a fresh controversy after a teacher of the school said that Hindus will "go to hell", while Christians will "go to heaven".

The incident took place at the Durban Girls' high school during a discussion on religion. When one of the pupils told the teacher that she was Hindu, the teacher responded by saying that because they prayed to idols they would go to hell. She also told the pupil that she would pray for her.

"I am shocked by these remarks. They are propagating Christianity and attacking other religions, which is unacceptable," said a parent.

The chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Jody Kollapen, said the incident proved that certain people had not yet woken up to the fact that South Africa was a multireligious society.

"School is a place where we should advance the values of tolerance and understanding," he said.

"Any attempt to create a hierarchy of religion that suggests one God is more powerful than the other, to undermine people's faith and belief, certainly would run counter to the Constitution of the country."

"The Human Rights Commission would view such conduct in a strong light. But we will have to investigate this complaint thoroughly before drawing any conclusions," he said. A Hindu leader, Ram Maharaj, said they wanted the Human Rights Commission to investigate the incident.

"It is particularly insensitive and traumatising especially at a time when we are preparing to celebrate Deepavali," said Mr Maharaj. "The alleged remarks are unwarranted. Schools can't be reduced to happy hunting grounds to wean converts,".

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