Chandigarh, Nov 1 : The BJP government in Haryana headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is on the defensive following its order asking teachers to carry out religious duties.
The order was issued by the Education Department officials asking teachers to carry out religious duties, including distributing ‘prasad’, during a religious festival in Yamunanagar district.
The Yamunanagar District Education Officer (DEO), in his note dated October 29, sought an explanation from certain teachers who had failed to report for duty for training for the Kapal Mochan festival of the Hindus.
The government school teachers were asked to get training and carry out the work of priests in view of lakhs of people coming for the festival.
A section of the teachers have protested against the diktat of the Education Department and the Khattar government. They accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government of pursuing a “Hindutva agenda”.
BJP spokesman Jawahar Yadav on Wednesday defended the Khattar government’s decision saying that teachers were not being asked to perform the duties of priests.
He said that the order given to the teachers was only in connection with making arrangements for the festival at the district level.
Yadav told TV news channels that there was no (Hindutva) agenda behind the move. He said that only 15-20 teachers were directed to carry out duties during the festival as nearly five lakh people were expected for the four-day-long festival which started on Wednesday.
He said that studies of students would not be affected as the duties were assigned during holidays.
Jaidev Arya, state adviser to the Haryana Teachers Association, said that the government order was “unwarranted”.