New Delhi: The Maharashtra government on Sunday launched a probe against a school in Mumbai’s Matunga district for inviting BJP leaders to guide students in an hour-long programme about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Notably, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad ordered the investigation and criticised the school’s administration describing the incident as a “shameless attempt to politically influence young and innocent minds”, reported The Indian Express.
Two days ago, on January 10, Shree Dayanand Balak, Balika Vidyalaya and Junior College, a school run by the Arya Samaj was under heavy criticism after it organised a programme on a ground near the school campus during which local BJP leaders, including corporator Nehal Shah, interacted with the students of Class 8, 9, and 10, along with first and second-year students of Junior college to ‘spread awareness’ and ‘correct misinformation’ about the contentious Citizenship law.
The organiser of the event, Sumita Singh, is a leader of the Uttar Bharatiya Morcha as well as a trustee of the school. The event banner showcased BJP’s star campaigners Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
“This is blatant politicisation of schools. This won’t be tolerated. Schools aren’t a ground for politics. I have asked the education secretary to probe the whole episode. An explanation will be sought from the school for permitting such activity. Action will be initiated if the school management itself is found to have indulged in politicisation,” said Gaikwad.
If reports are to be believed, the BJP leaders bashed those protesting against CAA, terming them ‘traitors’ and urging those present to ‘save the nation’ from these protestors. Not only that, the BJP has launched such campaign at several schools across states, distributing pamphlets and postcards, encouraging them to write their own views and feedback on CAA on the forms.
Reacting to the campaigns, Shiv Sena’s youth leader and state minister Aaditya Thackeray lambasted the BJP for their attempt to ‘politicise’ schools and education.
“To campaign abt an Act in schools is ridiculous. What is the need for such political campaigning justification, if there is no ill intent? Politicisation of schools mustn’t be tolerated. If politicians want to speak in schools, speak on gender equality, helmets, cleanliness!” he tweeted.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also expressed his outrage demanding “strong action against all those Maharashtra BJP workers who tried to pervert the minds of school students”.
He approached Gaikwad in a subsequent tweet and wrote, “Action also must be taken against the school management as well, @VarshaEGaikwad ji.”