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Bible in classroom: Bengaluru school Principal says will seek legal opinion

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After the hijab in classrooms row in Karnataka, a new row has erupted in the state alleging that a school in Bengaluru had taken an undertaking from parents that they would not object to their wards carrying the Bible to class.

Hindu Janajagruti Samiti on Monday accused the administration of Clarence High School here of making it mandatory for students to carry the Bible. State spokesperson of the group, Gowda, alleged that the school has asked non-Christian students to compulsorily carry and read the Bible adding that it violated Articles 25 and 30 of the Constitution.

Principal of Clarence High School, Jerry George Mathew told ANI that, “We are aware that some people are upset about one of the policies of our school. We are a peace-loving and law-abiding school. We’ve consulted our advocates on this matter and we’ll follow their advice. We won’t break law of the land.”

The Block Education Officer also arrived at the school to take stock of the situation. “I have come here to get a report from the school authority,” he said.

Karnataka Primary and Secondary education Minister BC Nagesh said that no educational institution can force people to follow a certain religious practice and if institutions are found doing so strict action will be taken against them.

“No institution can teach religious textbooks. As you know Bible is a religious book of Christianity. Such things cannot be taught in our institutions. Whether it is a minority institution or other institutions. No religious practices are allowed” the minister told ANI.

“I have not seen what exactly it is. I’ll ask my authorities to look into it and speak to management. I heard that they are law-abiding school. They have consulted their advocates on this matter and they will follow their advice. No institute can force anyone to practice something which is against their religious practices….The Department will take action if they have done so,” the Karnataka minister said.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti said that they will meet the Karnataka Education Minister soon and raise the concern, according to Ramesh Shinde, national spokesperson of the group.

Recently, the state government had announced plans to introduce the Bhagavad Gita in schools, with education Minister BC Nagesh stating that if approved by experts, the Karnataka government, too, will include the epics like Bhagwad Gita in the syllabus for students.

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