Gita Abhiyaan halted after controversy

SFI leader begins hunger stir in jail, wants seer arrested

Meanwhile, V Ambarish, the Kolar district unit president of the Students Federation of India (SFI), who had surrendered before the police on Thursday after protesting against the Abhiyaan, began a hunger strike on Friday at the sub-jail in Kolar demanding that the Sonda Swarnavalli seer Gangadhareshwara Swami should be arrested.

The department has sent circulars to all the block education officers of Chikkaballapur district, asking them to take immediate action.

C U Chandrashekhar, Deputy Director of Public Instruction, told Deccan Herald: “The Abhiyaan has been met with stiff opposition in Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts. To prevent any untoward incidents, it has been temporarily suspended throughout Chikkaballapur district”.

Ministerspeak

District in-charge Minister A Narayanaswamy has described as uncivilised, the action of the SFI activists barging into the venue of the Abhiyaan, the government girls’ PU college in Kolar, where the seer was delivering a sermon on Wednesday.  He said action would be taken against the police officials if the other SFI activists are not arrested.

The minister said the complaint against the seer should be withdrawn.
Narayanaswamy said he had requested Home Minister R Ashoka to seek a report on the incident and take action if any police officer was found guilty.

He, however, said: “The pontiff of any religion should not violate the prohibitory orders imposed in the context of PU exams.

They cannot preach their religion at such places. The Deputy Commissioner (DC) has been asked to take action in this regard”.

“Any person has the right to preach his or her own religion. The SFI activists should not have stopped that. It is wrong to have filed a case against the seer,” Narayanaswamy said.

Meanwhile, DC Manoj Kumar Meena - who held discussions with leaders of various organisations - said: “Action against the seer and others who violated the prohibitory orders will be taken in three days,” the DC said.

Leaders of various organisations held a dharna in front of the Kolar DC office against the arrest of the SFI leader and demanding that action be taken against the Swarnavalli seer. Hundreds of students, led by SFI, also held a protest rally in the city, even as Srirama Sene activists held a bike rally seeking action against the SFI workers.

Kageri defends

However, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri told reporters in Bangalore that the State Government supported the Gita Abhiyan in schools.
He said the Government was even open to suggestions that teaching Bhagavad Gita in schools be made compulsory.

Kageri said the State Government supports the endeavour of the Swarnahalli seer, whose organisation has been voluntarily teaching Bhagavad Gita in schools across the State for the last four years.

He said one should consider education as a means to attain a higher state of mind. Bhagavad Gita delivers that state of mind and helps an individual to achieve higher goals in life, he said.

To a query whether the government would make Bhagavad Gita compulsory, Kageri said, “Now that such a suggestion has been made, we will consider that too”.

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