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2014-08-22

ASIA/INDIA - The Jesuits: the Government of Gujarat promotes extremism and violence in schools

Ahmedabad (Agenzia Fides) - The government of Gujarat promotes the principles of extremism and Hindu nationalism among school children: it has introduced, in more than 42,000 primary and secondary state schools, nine text books based on the principles of identity, racism and discrimination, typical of the radical Hindu groups, supporters of hatred and violence. This is the complaint sent to Fides by Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, Director of "Prashant", Human Rights, Justice and Peace Centre, based in Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat.
As reported to Fides, the state of Gujarat orders to include nine textbooks in the school programme elaborated by Dina Nath Batra, founder of a cultural Academy, the "Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti", which aims to preserve the Hindu religion and culture. The academy is used as an ideological benchmark by violent groups who promote the ideology of Hindutva in India. These forces, says Fr. Prakash to Fides, "are now aiming at manipulating the public education system".
The books were published (in Gujarati language) in January 2014 and praised by the then Prime Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, today Prime Minister of India. "Frozen until after the election, they are now being introduced into schools", explains the Jesuit.
"The books are full of myths and falsehoods, superstitions and prejudices, with gross distortions and manipulations. They propagate fascist ideology that is totally against the heritage of Indian culture, made up of inclusiveness, pluralism and the rights of all", says Fr. Prakash
The texts, according to the Jesuit "violate Articles 28 and 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, promoting a racist ideology". Speaking of "niggers", they teach hatred and prejudice toward Westerners, they accuse the English language "of having polluted the Indian culture", they subtly denigrate religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians and define Islam and Christianity "non-Indian religions".
The Jesuits of Prashant invite civil society to "protest strongly" in order not to allow Indian children to be educated according to these distorted and violent principles and ask the government for the immediate revocation of the introduction of such texts in public schools. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 22/08/2014)

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