Ahmedabad : Amid protest by Congress councillors, ‘Saraswati Vandana’ was organised today in more than 450 schools run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) which termed it as a “huge success”.

The civic body-controlled School Board claimed that all schools run by it, including Urdu medium ones, took part in the programme, which had invited accusations of being part of an attempt by ruling BJP to promote its Hindutva agenda, reports PTI. A row erupted after the Board issued a circular asking schools, including Urdu medium ones (which have mostly Muslim students), to organise ‘Saraswati Vandana’ (a prayer for the goddess of knowledge & wisdom) on Vasant Panchami on Saturday. The Board said the programme was as an attempt to inculcate moral values among children and make them understand the importance of education by remembering Goddess Saraswati

 During the event, students were to recite prayer for Saraswati at the morning assembly and perform puja. However, Opposition Congress termed this as an attack on the rights of minorities and claimed the Board is forcing Muslim students to perform puja, which is prohibited in Islam. Congress Councillors, including Opposition leader in AMC, Badruddin Shaikh gathered at Juhapura this morning and burned the copies of the circular. “Around 1.5 lakh students of various religions are studying in about 457 schools run by the Board. But, the BJP- led AMC as well as State Government are promoting their Hindutva agenda through such diktats. We strongly condemn this attempt,” said Shaikh, who was accompanied by some parents during the protest.

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