Government school teacher in Rajasthan suspended for disrespecting Goddess Saraswati and hurting religious sentiments

The official at Baran district education department claimed the suspension order was issued after initial inquiry into hurting and provoking religious sentiments against Bairwa was over.
Last Updated 24 February 2024, 12:21 IST

Jaipur: With yet another suspension of a government school teacher in Baran district today, the Rajasthan government seems intent on taking strict action against those who do not toe their line of thinking. 

Primary school teacher Hemlata Bairwa was put on suspension for hurting religious sentiments and refusing to worship Goddess Saraswati at a function organised on January 26 in her primary school in Ladkai village in Kishanganj area of Baran district.

The order of immediate suspension along with disciplinary action was issued by Piyush Kumar Sharma, district education (elementary) officer of Baran yesterday. Hemlata has now been ordered to report to the Directorate of Elementary Education in Bikaner.

The order was issued following  Education minister Madan Dilawar’s caustic comments on Hemlata’s actions while addressing a public meeting in Kishanganj in Baran on Thursday. He had said, “Some people give weightage to themselves, their chaal (working style) is not yet gone and they ask what is the contribution of Goddess Saraswati in school. Whoever has said so in this area, I suspend him or her.”

The incident had occurred on January 26, when Hemlata refused to place Goddess Saraswati's picture on the stage during a Republic Day function in the school premises. In a viral video some villagers from amongst the audience were seen to have got into an argument with the teacher, asking her the reason for the absence of Goddess Saraswati’s picture and demanding that she be worshipped with flowers.

Hemlata refused to do any kind of puja or heed to their demands, and instead was seen saying Savitri Bai Phule is somebody to be worshipped instead of Saraswati, also going on to ask what Saraswati has really done in the field of education. She refused to be cowed down by the aggressive crowd. 

Her video had gone viral around that time and she won both bouquets for her courage and brickbats for not allowing the worship of Saraswati, with many criticising her Ambedkarite stance and "distorted mentality". A support for Hemlata hashtag was also trending then.

Earlier, there have been suspensions of two teachers for indulging in religious conversions in Sangod area of Kota. An investigation is also pending against another teacher.

(Published 24 February 2024, 12:21 IST)

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