Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a subject in a speech competition in a private school in Valsad has sparked a controversy, prompting the Gujarat government to suspend an official.
The competition for the students of class 5-8 was organised on three subjects approved by the Valsad district officials. They were: “I like the flying bird in the sky”, “I will become a scientist but will not go to the USA” and “Nathuram Godse: My ideal or hero”.
A student who spoke on the third subject was declared the winner and given the prize.
Youth and Culture Minister Harsh Sanghavi said youth development officer of the district Mita Gavli was placed under suspension for “lack of oversight”. Strict action would be taken against other officials also after a probe, he added.
Opposition leaders and Gandhians slammed the subject chosen by the authorities. Among those who strongly criticised it included Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi. He said on Twitter “in new India, murderers are heroes”.
Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi termed it “shocking”. He said it raised questions about “procedure and propriety”. Another party leader, Salman Soz, said, “You bow in front of Gandhi’s statues in foreign countries but your reality is in your backyard.” Arjun Modhvadia, also of the Congress, stated that the “attempt to portray Nathuram Godse as hero is condemnable.”