Gujarat Vidyapith students stage protest for being stopped from reciting prayer

"It has been decided in the meeting that from tomorrow onwards, students of all the faculties will recite morning prayers at their respective faculty buildings," the statement read.

Ahmedabad: More than 100 students belonging to different faculties of the Gujarat Vidyapith here on Monday weaved khadi on their charkha while sitting in the open in the campus as a mark of protest claiming that they were stopped from reciting a prayer.

Following the protest, the university’s administration issued a general statement on the issue saying that morning prayers will now be held at each faculty premises, instead of the common hall.

Founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920, Gujarat Vidyapith is a deemed university since 1963 and receives funds from the University Grants Commission. Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat was appointed as its Chancellor recently.

MS Education Academy

On Monday, students of various faculties, sported black bands on their arms, boycotted the morning prayer session inside the assembly hall and recited the prayer while spinning their charkha in the open.

According to students, the administration has “banned” ‘sarv dharm prartha’ or all-religion prayer recited collectively by students every Friday at Upasana Hall of the campus.

“When students were reciting the all-religion prayer on Friday, Professor Ram Gopal Singh, head of the Hindi department, came there and stopped us from reciting the prayer. When Professor Nimishaben Shukla of the Economics department confronted him for the diktat, he misbehaved with her also. Even though we had the permission to recite that prayer, we were insulted,” a student said.

Another student said reciting the all-religion prayer is part of Gujarat Vidyapith’s tradition because Mahatma Gandhi used to believe in harmony among all religions.

“For a long time, students used to administer the all-religion prayer every Friday. But now, that team of students was disqualified from doing that work. Our freedom and rights are being taken away. There is no forum left where we can raise our issues. We want an apology from the person who insulted students. We also demand that the right to administer prayer must be handed over to the students’ body,” a protesting student said.

Singh was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.

Meanwhile, a video of a verbal confrontation between Singh and Shukla went viral on social media platforms. In the video, Singh can be heard saying “are you the vice chancellor?” to Shukla near the dais of the hall.

The university’s in-charge registrar Nikhil Bhatt in a statement said a meeting of heads of different faculties and other departmental heads was convened during the day to address the “misunderstanding” among students.

“It has been decided in the meeting that from tomorrow onwards, students of all the faculties will recite morning prayers at their respective faculty buildings,” the statement read.

Back to top button