‘Anti-Hindu’ remark by teacher: Karnataka govt transfers education department official

Naik's transfer came a day after Congress leaders on Tuesday asked Karnataka Education Dept to set up a fact-finding team to probe incident.


Published Feb 15, 2024 | 9:55 AMUpdatedFeb 15, 2024 | 8:59 PM

St Gerosa Higher Primary School in Mangaluru. (Official website)

The Karnataka government has transferred D Ramachandra Naik, deputy director of public instruction (DDPI) in Dakshina Kannada district, apparently because of the controversy over the removal of a teacher from a private school in Mangaluru following her alleged “anti-Hindu” remarks in the classroom.

Naik has been transferred as a lecturer at a government teachers’ college in Belagavi, an official communique said.

He has been replaced by Venkatesh Subraya Patagara, who has been serving as the deputy director (planning) at the office of the additional commissioner, school education department at Kalaburagi.

The transfers have been made with immediate effect, the statement said.

Though it mentioned that the transfer was part of a broader administrative reshuffling, there were clear indications that the shuffling has been ordered following the controversy surrounding the recent expulsion of a teacher at St Gerosa English school.

Related: Karnataka teacher sacked for allegedly telling students ‘Mahabharat’, ‘Ramayana’ are imaginary

Concerns over handling the issue

A section of teachers and the public were unhappy with the DDPI for how it handled the allegation against the teacher of hurting the sentiments of a particular religious group.

The St Gerosa Higher Primary School management dismissed the teacher after complaints from the parents of a Class VII student and BJP leaders.

The parents of a student complained to the Mangaluru South Police Station on Monday, 12 February, seeking action against the teacher who allegedly used “derogatory words” while speaking about Hindu Gods during a class on “work is worship”.

It was alleged that the teacher told the students that the Mahabharat and Ramayana were “imaginary” and tried to induce “anti-Hindu” feelings among children.

Related: Congress leaders demand fact-finding team

Cong wants BJP MLAs disqualified

Meanwhile, the Congress has decided to submit a memorandum to the chief minister and Assembly speaker urging them to take disciplinary action against BJP MLAs Vedavyas Kamath and Y Bharat Shetty for making statements to induce communal hatred among the people over the school issue, senior party leader and KPCC Vice President Ivan D’Souza said on Wednesday, 14 February.

Addressing reporters in Mangaluru, D’Souza said the MLAs had issued provocative statements over a recent incident at St Gerosa school in the city where a teacher was removed from her post for making alleged “anti-Hindu” remarks inside the classroom.

Following an uproar from right-wing outfits and BJP MLAs, St Gerosa school removed the teacher from her post on Monday, 12 February, on the charge that she made the alleged comments while taking a class on the topic, ‘Work is Worship’.

D’Souza alleged that instead of trying to find an amicable solution to the issue at the private school, the MLAs had indulged in whipping up communal feelings. He said a demand would be placed before the Assembly speaker to disqualify the BJP legislators.

D’Souza also wanted the police to file a criminal case against the MLAs for their “communal” statements and attempt to tarnish the image of an educational institution that has a history of nearly six decades.

Students made to raise pro-Hindutva slogans

Incidentally, Naik’s transfer came a day after Congress leaders on Tuesday, 13 February, asked the Karnataka Education Department to set up a fact-finding team to probe the expulsion of a teacher from a private school in Mangaluru for her alleged anti-Hindu remarks made inside the classroom.

Addressing reporters after visiting the St Gerosa English school, former state minister B Ramanath Rai and Vinay Kumar Sorake said an impartial probe should be conducted into the incident that threatens to affect communal harmony.

Rai said the provocative statements of BJP leaders who use children for the protest should be investigated to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Farzana, who was part of the Congress delegation that visited the school, said the incident has led to a situation where the police are required to protect the school.

She also condemned the statements of local BJP MLAs who allegedly instigated the students to raise ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. Congress leaders JR Lobo, Mamatha Gatti, Shashidhar Hegde, Shahul Hameed, and Shalet Pinto were part of the delegation.

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