Gujarat: Dist official suspended, govt orders inquiry after school holds debate themed 'My Ideal, Nathuram Godse'

The competition, held on Monday, was not limited to standard 5 to 9 students of Kusum Vidyalaya but was open to all government and private schools in the Valsad district.

Darshan DesaiUpdated: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 11:03 PM IST
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Nathuram Godse |

Ahmedabad: Two months after an organisation conducted “Godse Gatha” events in Saurashtra, a private primary school in South Gujarat’s Valsad district hosted a debate competition on the theme, “My Ideal, Nathuram Godse”, and a student who spoke in favour and criticised Mahatma Gandhi was declared the winner.

The competition, held on Monday, was not limited to standard 5 to 9 students of Kusum Vidyalaya but open to all government and private schools in Valsad district.

Students aged eight to 12 years of over 25 government and private schools participated in the event.

The competition had various categories, including debate, elocution, folk music, essay writing and several others. The prizes were given away on the same day.

After a huge controversy over the issue that was first highlighted by a mass circulated Gujarati daily on its news portal on Wednesday, a youth development officer, Neeta Gavli, of the district was suspended and the Youth Services and Cultural Activities Department of the Gujarat Government ordered an inquiry into this.

The event was held as a party of the district-level ‘Bal Pratibha Shodh Spardha’ (translated as a children talent hunt competition) by the Youth Services and Cultural Affairs Department of the State Government.

Kusum Vidyalay is run by Samarpan Charity. School trustee Vivek Desai told reporters that they had only lent the school premises for the event since theirs is a secondary school. He added that no student, teacher or staff of the school was involved in the planning and execution of the event. “We simply got a letter from the district yuva vikas office to arrange our classrooms for the competitions,” Desai said.

Valsad’s District Collector Kshipra Agre said the officer Neeta Gavli had been placed under suspension after orders from Gandhinagar. And district education officer BD Baraiya claimed that his department was not aware about this and it was the initiative of the Yuva Vikas Office. He added that the Yuva Vikas Office had sent a circular on February 8 to all 25 schools informing that all the competitions would be held at Kusum Vidyalaya at Tithal Road on February 14.

Reacting to the episode, Gujarat Congress workers led by State president Jagdish Thakor held a prayer meeting at the Sabarmati Ashram to condemn the incident. Former Gujarat president of the party Arjun Modhwadia tweeted that it was “extremely shameful” that children were being misguided and indoctrinated against Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation in his home state.

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