Haryana government orders teachers to undergo priest training ahead of religious event
By Harpreet Bajwa | Express News Service | Published: 01st November 2017 10:46 PM |
CHANDIGARH: In a bizarre diktat by the Bhartiya Janta Party government in Haryana, the school teachers have been asked to take priests training and perform pooja ahead of a religious event at a temple in Yamunanagar.
In the directive, issued by the state education department, teachers were asked to perform religious duties, including that of priests and distributing prasad, during the four-day religious festival in Yamunanagar district.
The training programme was first held on October 29, however, when several teachers did not turn up, Yamunanagar district education officer sought the explanation for it.
Opposition parties slammed the state government and said that the ruling party is 'saffronising' the entire event and pursuing a Hindutva agenda.
Teachers' association also criticised the government over the order. Jaidev Arya, the state adviser to the Haryana Teachers Association, said “If the government takes action against us, we will stage state-wide protests. A teacher’s job is not to become a priest.”
However, state chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar denied the directive stating that the order may have been issued by the local administration, but not the state.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesman Jawahar Yadav defended the decision of the government and claimed that the teachers were not being asked to perform the duties of priests. They were only been told to make relevant arrangements for the festival at the district level.
“Only around 10-15 teachers were asked to carry the duties during the four-day Kapal Mocha festival, which is expected to be attended by nearly five lakh people. The studies of students would not be affected as the duties were assigned during holidays,” Yadav added.