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No holiday on Rakshabandhan, Janmashtami, Ram Navami, Shivratri, 6 days for Eid: Bihar govt orders Urdu language schools to have Friday off

Union Minister Giriraj Singh took to X, formerly Twitter, taking a jibe at the Nitish Kumar government. "Islamic Republic of Bihar. Nitish and Lalu government extended holidays for Muslim festivals in schools, ended holidays for Hindu festivals," he wrote.

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has sparked another controversy regarding holidays in government schools. The RJD-JDU coalition government has reportedly reduced the number of Hindu festivals and increased the number of Muslim festivals in government schools for the academic year 2024.

A press release by the Bihar Education Department reads that while making the 2024 holiday calendar, the required criteria of 220 days of teaching as per the Right To Education Act (RTE) is fulfilled.

In the new calendar, the number of days for summer vacations has been increased from 20 to 30. Holidays for Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha (Bakrid) have also been increased to three days each at the cost of Hindu holidays including Hartalika Teej and Jitiya which have been cancelled.

Revered Hindu festivals including Makar Sankranti, Rakshabandhan, Saraswati Puja, Janmashtami, Ram Navami, Bhaidooj, and Shivratri have not even been included in the holiday calendar.

Moreover, only four Hindu festivals have been factored in which include Diwali (1), Durga Puja (3), Chhath Puja (3), and Holi (2). The total holidays on Hindu festivals account for nine days.

Whereas six so-called Muslim festivals have been included in the holiday calendar including shab-e-barat (1), Eid-ul-Fitr (3), Eid-ul-Zoha (3), Muharram (2), Chehallum (1) and Prophet Mohammad’s birthday (1). Islamic festivals account for 11 days.

What’s more is that Urdu language schools can have the weekly holiday on Friday instead of the gazetted Sunday holiday.

Bihar govt notification on school holidays

Union Minister Giriraj Singh took to X, formerly Twitter, taking a jibe at the Nitish Kumar government. “Islamic Republic of Bihar. Nitish and Lalu government extended holidays for Muslim festivals in schools, ended holidays for Hindu festivals,” he wrote.

Moreover, he said that the decision is a part of “Ghazwa-e-Hindi”. A similar post was shared by BJP Bihar X handle with the text, “Islamic Republic of Bihar”.

Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey also took a dig at Nitish calling him the “tushtikaran ke sardar (Warlord of appeasement)” and “Bihar ke kursi kumar (chair prince of Bihar)”.

“Once again the anti-Hindu face of the uncle-nephew government came to the fore. On one hand, holidays for Muslim festivals are being extended in schools, while holidays for Hindu festivals are being abolished. Shame on the government that hates Sanatan for vote bank,” Choubey wrote.

The controversial move is a repeat of a similar decision that was taken by the Bihar government to cut down Hindu holidays between September to December from 23 to 11 days.

Back then, the Rakshabandhan holiday was scrapped, the number of holidays for Durga Puja was reduced from six to three and nine holidays for Diwali to Chhatth were reduced to four.

However, amid severe backlash, the government had to withdraw the decision only to bring it back now.

The controversy comes just a day after Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav while addressing an extremely backward caste community in Darbhanga mocked UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s attire and slammed him for “showing off” his Hindu faith.

He said that ringing bells (during Hindu prayers), donning a tilak (a Hindu symbol worn on the forehead) and saffron robes “is not true devotion, they not bring food to the table, they are only for show off”.

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