In the lead-up to the inauguration of the Ram Mandir on January 22, a local school in Chikkamagaluru, St. Joseph School, has sparked controversy by allegedly threatening students with a Rs. 1,000 fine if they choose to take a leave on the historic day.
The Pran Pratishtha ceremony, scheduled to take place at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on Monday, January 22, has prompted the school to issue warnings of financial penalties for absenteeism on this significant occasion. The ceremony involves the Pran Pratishtha of Ram Lalla, marking the culmination of almost 500 years since the temple was demolished by Mughal forces to make way for a mosque.
However, the actions of St Joseph School have not gone unnoticed, as both Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have raised objections, criticising the school’s imposition of fines on students. The confusion surrounding whether schools should observe a holiday on January 22, in light of the government’s directive for temple worship, has intensified the debate.
Hindu groups are expressing dissatisfaction with the alleged coercion of students by private schools, urging parents to allow their children to witness the live broadcast of the Ram Mandir inauguration from home if they choose to take a leave on the significant day. These organisations have issued warnings, stating that they will take action against schools penalising students for exercising this choice.
To address the growing controversy, ASP Krishnamurthy, overseeing the area, visited and held discussions with pro-Hindu organisation workers, expressing his intention to communicate with the school board. Additionally, the In-charge District Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), Prakash, visited the school and engaged in discussions with the school management board.
The Pran Pratishtha rituals at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22 are expected to be elaborate, with the murti of Ram Lalla being consecrated, symbolising the reclamation of the temple nearly five centuries after its destruction.
Notably, Prime Minister Modi and various dignitaries from different fields are expected to attend the ceremony, marking the installation of the deity at the temple widely regarded as the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram, a scion of the Ikshavaku dynasty. The controversy surrounding the school’s actions adds a contentious layer to the already momentous occasion.