Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has chief minister criticised the decision to ask Army to construct an overhead bridge in Mumbai saying the force seems to have turned into first responder. “The army was to be a measure of last resort to be called upon in extreme emergency. Now it seems like it s the 1st (first) number on the speed dial,” Omar wrote on Twitter. He was responding to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement justifying use of the Army in constructing the foot over bridge. Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devender Fadnavis announced that Army will construct the foot overbridge at Elphinstone station where a stampede left 23 people dead last month.
This is not the first time that the army has been pressed into civilian work not necessarily requiring its skills and training. Last year, the Army build a floating bridge on the river Yamuna for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s “Art of Living” event that was controversial because of environmental violations. This year, soldiers were called in to keep an eye on those throwing waste into the river Ganga and to clean up tourist garbage in high altitude areas.
The BJP government in Haryana headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is facing criticism following its order asking teachers to carry out religious duties.
The order was issued by the Education Department officials asking teachers to carry out religious duties, including distributing ‘prasad’, during a religious festival in Yamunanagar district.
The Yamunanagar District Education Officer (DEO), in his note dated October 29, sought an explanation from certain teachers who had failed to report for duty for training for the Kapal Mochan festival. The government school teachers were asked to get training and carry out the work of priests in view of lakhs of people coming for the festival.
A section of the teachers have protested against the diktat of the Education Department. They accused the BJP government of pursuing a “Hindutva agenda”.
BJP spokesman Jawahar Yadav defended Khattar government’s decision saying teachers were not being asked to perform the duties of priests.
He said the order given to the teachers was only in connection with making arrangements for the festival at the district level.
Yadav told media that there was no agenda behind the move. He said only 15-20 teachers were directed to carry out duties during the festival as nearly five lakh people were expected for the four-day-long festival which started on Wednesday.
He said the studies of students would not be affected as the duties were assigned during holidays.