Teachers asked to undergo training to help priests

November 2, 2017

In a directive that has left the teacher bodies in Haryana fuming, government school teachers were asked to attend a training programme to help priests at a religious festival in Haryana’s Yamunanagar.

The teachers were asked to enrol for a programme for the Kapal Mochan Mela in Yamunanagar, a four-day fair, by the local administration. They were asked to turn up for the programme at 1 pm on October 29.

A section of teachers said they were asked to perform odd jobs such as distributing prasad among the devotees at the fair, which began on November 1. However, 26 of the 109 teachers, who were enrolled for the training, refused. The administration sought an explanation from the district education officer concerned on why they had not participated in the event and have asked for departmental disciplinary action against them.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, however, said his government had not given any such direction. “This may be a local arrangement, but from our side, there is no such direction,” he said.

A senior official of the Yamunanagar district administration said around 600 government employees, including teachers, were deployed to perform miscellaneous tasks such as managing the crowd and assisting the priests.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala took a dig at the Khattar government on Twitter saying, “Teachers will become priests now, the future of students depends on god.”

He also posted a document dated October 29, purportedly signed by the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), Bilaspur (which comes under Yamunanagar district), directing the teachers who were absent at the training programme on the said date to attend a similar programme the next day.

The document also warned the teachers of disciplinary action if they failed to do so.

The fair has attracted nearly two lakh pilgrims from several states, including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan.

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