Here are some newspaper reports which were collected about the incident…
Pudhari (Satara), Sunday, 6th March 2011
Warning issued to the Baha’i teachers
Wai : Correspondent
The under training teachers of New Era High School, Panchgani were taken to the police station by the volunteers of Hinduttvawadi organizations when they were found converting youths to the Baha’i faith in the nearby villages. Local police left these Baha’i teachers by giving them strict warning. Due to this incident tension prevailed in the area for some time.
New Era Development Institute runs different training courses for the teachers of English medium pre-primary and primary sections. This Institute is primarily involved in the propagation of Baha’i faith. Very high amount of fee is taken from the youth interested to join this institute, although this institute does have any recognition from the government. Baha’i books are taught to the trainees and they are motivated to induce more people from the mainstream society to the Baha’i religion through the systematic Baha’i programmes by using Baha’i study materials in a very short time. These very trainees are also told to accept the Baha’i religion. Accordingly their declaration in Baha’i religion is taken by this institute to make them registered member of this religion.
From last three years this conversion activity was being carried out secretly. They have branches in Panchgani and Wai. For some time the hinduttvawadi organizations were monitoring these activities. They wanted to seize these people with valid proofs. On 4th March in the vicinity of Siddhanatwadi, they were caught red-handed. Hindu volunteers took hold of all the male and female Baha’i trainees of NEDI who arrived there through minibus No. MH-119512 to teach and convert innocent people of that area and took them to the nearby Police station. Sunil Choudhary (a Baha’i) is responsible for teaching activities in that area. Sub-Inspector Mr. Deepak Ghatge took the details and information from all the trainees and after a detailed inquiry left them with a strict warning. The police officer said, if they are caught again doing this type of activity, then appropriate action will be taken against them. Due to this incident there was much tension in the City. Vijayatai Bhosale, BJP City President Kashinath Shelar, Sanjay Patil, Sanjay Sanas, Manohar Patwardhan of Shiv Sena and Shivaji Shinde Principal of New Era and Atul Bhate, Sagar Malsure, BJP Dist. President Avinash Farande took part in the discussion held by the Police.
Another Newspaper Report
AIKYA DAILY, 5th March 2011
Wai, 4th March 2011 : On Thursday evening, Hindu activists caught the staff and students of New Era Institute who were engaged in teaching Bahai religion in city and nearby villages. They were then taken to the police station alongwith their vehicle.
This event occurred on Thursday, at 7.30 p.m. when the Hindu activists stopped a bus (No. MH11-T-9512) that was taking these proselytizers and brought it to the police station and handed them to the Police Sub-inspector Mr. Deepak Ghatge. The Sub-inspector then called various Hindu leaders & Sunil Choudhary, the director of New Era Institute and students to inquire about the incident.
The Hindu activists, Mr. Vivek Bhosle, Mr. Kashinath Shelar, Mr. Atul Bhate and Mr. Sagar Malsure gave a signed document to the Wai Police Station. The document says, from last many years, the New Era Development Institute (New Era Teachers Training Centre) is spreading Bahai religion under the name of imparting academic education to the pupils.
The Bahais of New Era were found teaching their religion to the Hindus of Ravivarpeth, Siddhnathwadi, Jejurikar Colony, Sahyadri Nagar, Brahmanshahi and the poor families living below poverty line in the nearby villages.
The document (complaint) demanded that these conversion activities must be stopped otherwise we will not be responsible for hurting the religious sentiments of the Bahais.
This institute does not have the permission of Maharashtra Government. For its day to day expenses it is charging a heavy fee of Rs. 80,000 to 90,000 per student. The Hindu activists further demanded to impose a ban on this Institute if it does not remain faithful to the Indian constitution or does not obey the laws of Maharashtra Government.
This incident occurred in the presence of BJP District President Mr. Avinash Farande, Dada Suryavanshi, Yashwant Lele, Manohar Patwardhan, Vasant Jamdade, Bandu Shingte, Baju Dhavan and other Hindu activists and leaders.