In a significant development, the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan government of Bihar has scrapped the school holidays on many prominent Hindu festivals in the recently released holiday calendar year of 2024.
According to the notification issued by the Bihar Education Department, the holidays given on Hindu festivals such as Mahashivratri, Raksha Bandhan, and Janmashtami have been abolished by the government, while leaves provided on Teej, Jitiya, Govardhan Pooja, Gurunanak Jayanti, Karthik Poornima, and Anant Chaturdashi have also been scrapped.
In the notification issued by the government, the holidays given on Holi, Durga Puja, Deepawali and Chhath Puja have also been commuted, while at the same time the Mahagathbandhan government has increased the holidays given on Muslim festivals such as Muharram, Bakrid and Id.
According to the notification released on Monday, November 27, the total number of holidays given in the upcoming calendar year has been reduced to 60 as compared to 64 holidays given in the calendar year of 2023. However, astonishingly, the holidays on the Muslim festivals have increased in the latest release. In the holiday calendar issued by the Bihar government, a total of 3 days holiday have been given on Id as compared to a single day holiday given on the Id last year. Similarly, holidays on Bakrid and Muharram have also been increased to 3 and 2 days respectively, as compared to 2 and 1 day holidays given in the last calendar year.
Opposition hits back
Meanwhile, many prominent leaders of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the notification have come down heavily on the Nitish-led government. In a video message posted on social media platform X, union minister Giriraj Singh said “that the way holidays given on Hindu festivals have been abolished while the same has been increased on the Muslim festivals proves that the Nitish government is working as per the Islam religion.”
बिहार को इस्लामिक स्टेट बनाने पर तुले मोहम्मद नीतीश कुमार, गिरिराज सिंह ने कहा… जल्द वापस लें आदेश, वरना शुरू होगा ये काम@girirajsinghbjp @samrat4bjp @BJP4Bihar #बिहार_सरकार pic.twitter.com/lhoUciYPBI
— FirstBiharJharkhand (@firstbiharnews) November 28, 2023
“Due to this, weekly off on Friday has already been given in places like Araria, Katihar, Purnia and Kishanganj and it seems like the government has been planning to declare Friday a holiday in all of Bihar. If the government doesn’t roll back its decision to scrap the holidays on our festivals, then they will face the consequences in the upcoming elections, and they will be called Mohammad Lalu Yadav and Mohammad Nitish Kumar, added Giriraj Singh further.
Another senior leader from the BJP, Sushil Modi, while slamming the decision of the government said that “the government has taken an anti-Hindu decision which hurts the sentiments of Hindus. Holidays on prominent Hindu festivals have been abolished while holidays given on Deepawali, Chhath and Durga Puja have also been scrapped, however at the same time holidays on Muslim festivals have been increased. Leaves on Ram Navami, Janmashtami have been canceled. Nitish ji we will never accept this.”
— Deshhit News (@deshhit_news) November 28, 2023
“There are lakhs of Women in Bihar who absorb fasts on Teej and Jitiya whose leaves have also been abolished. It’s a testimony of anti-Hindu mindset. Not only that, it’s also been declared that a weakly off will be given on Friday in Muslim dominated areas. It’s a secular state, will there be leave on some other day on Christian schools and Hindus schools. There shall be only one weekly leave in the whole state. The BJP will never accept such anti-Hindu ‘Tughlaqi Farman’ and will oppose it tooth and nail” , quoted Mr Modi.
It is to be noted that the JDU-RJD alliance government and the opposition BJP have been in a tussle over issues pertaining to communal flare-ups and appeasement politics in the state lately where the saffron party has been accusing the Nitish-led government for deliberately hurting Hindu sentiments for vote bank policy.