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Ramanujan College says teachers' presence for 'course' on Gita not mandatory

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New Delhi, Dec 27 (PTI) Delhi University's Ramanujan college administration on Wednesday said that it has withdrawn the condition for mandatory attendance kept for a certificate-cum-refresher course on Srimad Bhagavad Gita for its staff.

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Jigar Inamdar, chairman of Ramanujan college, told PTI, "We had withdrawn the mandatory attendance for the course on Gita on December 22, when the inaugural session of the course was held. There's no compulsion on the staff to attend the course if they don't want to. However, I publicly urged them to join the course to increase participation." The chairman added that the college had made attendance for the course mandatory to ensure footfall and participation by the staff.

Earlier on Wednesday, a DU teachers' outfit, Democratic Teachers' Front, opposed the mandate saying that the teaching and non-teaching staff of the college were being coerced into registering for the certificate course on Bhagavad Gita.

It alleged that the college is forcing the teaching and non-teaching staff to attend the course beyond their office hours.

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"Ramanujan principal SP Agarwal has abused the powers vested in him to dictate to all teachers and non-teaching staff to compulsorily register for and attend a refresher/certificate course on Srimad Bhagavad Gita," the DTF said in a statement.

"Illegally coercing teachers and non-teaching staff to remain engaged till 6.30 pm beyond official duties and the added burden of conducting the ongoing semester examinations of students is unacceptable," it added.

The refresher course, being organised by the Teaching Learning Centre is being offered till January 9 by the college from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm for all teaching and non-teaching staff in online as well as offline mode.

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In an email to the teaching staff, the college principal said that the course is being offered in line with the Indian Knowledge System Centre proposed to be set up at the college.

"This course is in line with the setting up of the Indian Knowledge System Centre at the college. In view of this it is our responsibility to first sensitize ourselves through such programmes," the email read.

It further said that the college will hold such programmes not only for Bhagavad Gita but also for vedas which are part of the Indian Knowledge System.

According to the email, all newly recruited teaching staff in the last one year were asked to compulsorily register and attend the programme in offline mode along with non-teaching staff. Other senior teaching staff were given a choice to attend the course in offline or online mode.

The teachers' body had alleged that offering such a course through the Teaching Learning Centre defeats the objective of the centre, which is to promote "independent, critical and creative thinking" and gives way to propagation of "sectarian beliefs." PTI SJJ SJJ VN VN

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