NEW DELHI: Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has stirred up a hornet’s nest. His stunning statement in Jaipur, that governmentrun schools are “breeding grounds” of Naxal violence, nearly took the breath out of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi.
The usually articulate Sibal was at first dumbfounded.
After recovering from the initial shock, Sibal managed a reply. “No one is his senses, with right balance of mind would make such an allegation,” he said.
During an event in Jaipur on Tuesday, Sri Sri Ravi had said the government should not run schools, as boys who study there become inclined towards Naxalism.
Citing himself as a product of a government-run school, Sibal said, “When I read the statement, I was surprised. I studied in a government school, and I am not a naxalite.” Interestingly, both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee have studied in government-run schools in rural India.
Leaders of various political parties and educationists also condemned the reported remarks of Sri Sri.
Caught in the storm of criticism, Ravi Shankar clarified his remarks on Twitter, saying: “I did not say all government schools breed naxalism.
Great talents have emerged from these schools; I would never generalise.” He added that he had “specifically referred to sick government schools in naxal affected areas. Many who have turned to naxalism have come from these schools.”