Karnataka: Bhagvad Gita teaching in schools sparks row

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Bhagavad Gita
Bangalore, Jul 18: Karnataka's BJP is in trouble again after the party supported the decision of teaching Holy 'Bhagvad Gita' in schools.

The disputation took a new u-turn after Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, Primary and Secondary Education Minister on Jul 14 commented that the teaching of the holy book was necessary as it would inculcate good values in students and those opposing the idea should leave India.

On Jul 8, he said that the government was "open to making Bhagvad Gita teaching compulsory in schools".

But VS Acharya, Higher Education Minister said that the concept of introducing Bhagvad Gita should not be viewed as religious teaching.

"There is no connection between Bhagavad Gita and religion. Gita has more to do with human values," he said.

Many opposed to the idea and felt that it in a way of 'communalise'(d) teaching.

In a petition, the Karnataka State Minorities Educational Institutions Managements' Federation challenged the support for the programme and sought the central and the state government's response on the same.

"The government is only supporting the programme, and is nor organising or financially backing it," said Kageri.

The programme mainly for the primary, secondary and high school students is conducted by Sri Gangadharendra Saraswati Swami in Sirsi, North Karnataka.

The Students Federation of India also opposed to the programme on Jul 6 at Kolar.

V Ambarish, Students Federation of India (SFI), unit president, Kolar was arrested after he tried to interrupt the discourse by Gangadharendra Saraswati Swami and was later released on bail following protests from students against the arrest.

"We have been opposing it since it was launched in 2007. But only now it has become a major issue because our Kolar unit head was arrested on false charges and held in jail for five days," said H.R. Naveen Kumar, state president SFI when asked why SFI did not speak out on the matter.

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