NEW DELHI: The government on Monday ruled out a newspaper report that the CBSE schools have been asked to remain open on December 25.
In a press release, the HRD ministry says the proposed instructions of the CBSE are to conduct an online essay competition on 24th and 25th of December which is completely voluntary. The press note says even the CBSE office will remain closed on the Christmas day.
"No child or student will be deprived of celebrating the holidays or vacations or participating in their own festivals and religious festivals whole heartedly," the statement says.
The Christmas Day also happens to be the birthday of former prime minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the NDA government has decided to celebrate it as the Good Governance Day.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told the Lok Sabha that there was no circular issued to say that schools should be run on that day.
"Nothing has been made mandatory. There is no question of using force," Naidu added.
The opposition members sought the government's response over reports that said that Navodaya Schools are conducting an essay writing contest December 25.
Earlier, raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Congress leader K.C. Venugopal said an essay competition is being held Dec 24-25 but Christians will go to churches on these days. "It will be hurting sentiments of minorities."
Venugopal added that he was not against observing the day as a Good Governance Day.
As Venugopal spoke, his fellow members from the Congress party and members from other parties rose from their seats. Some of them came close to the Lok Sabha speaker's podium.
"We want clarification from the minister," one of the members demanded.
As the protest continued, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house for lunch.
Clarifying the issue after lunch, Naidu said he spoke to Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani over the issue and was told that there was no circular issued that the schools will run December 25.
(With inputs from agencies)