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Govt schools are Naxal nurseries: Sri Sri

Spiritual guru and the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has labeled the government schools as the breeding grounds for the Naxals.

Jaipur/New Delhi: Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravishankar courted controversy by claiming that government
schools are breeding grounds for Naxalism and his comments
were condemned by educationists and a ministers today as
"unfortunate and illogical."

Union Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal
expressed surprise at the remarks and posed a question as to
whether people in high positions in all walks of life who have
studied in government schools are Naxals.

Addressing a function in Hindi at a school near Jaipur on Wednesday evening, Ravishankar said government should privatise
education and close state-run schools as they breed Naxals.

"Government ko koi school nahi chalana chahiye. Aksar
paya jata hai ki government school se padhe hue bacche hi is
tarha naxalvad me hinsa ke marg me chale jate hai"(Government
should not run any school. It is often found that boys studied
in government schools go into Naxalism and violence).

The Art of Living founder, who is also popularly called
Guruji, had also said that all government schools should be

"I feel that all the schools and colleges should be
privatised and handed over to some other Sanstha
(organisation). Such things are not in the boys of private
schools and they (from private schools) move ahead with an
ideal and teachers are responsible for it," he added.

Rajasthan Education Minister Brijkishore Sharma said
Ravishankar`s remarks were unfortunate and uncalled for.
Around 50 people including students of government
higher secondary school at Jhalana in Jaipur, their guardians
and other locals burnt an effigy of Ravishankar in front of
the school. They demanded an apology from the spiritual guru.

People`s Union for Civil Liberties(PUCL) while
criticising Ravishankar demanded legal action against him.

Asked by newsmen in Delhi for his response, Sibal said
people who are in the highest positions in the government and
outside government, members of the judiciary and former
Presidents have studied in government schools. "Can it ever be
said that they are all naxalites," he asked.

Sibal said he would give a "benefit of doubt" to Ravi
Shankar "because I do not think even temporarily a person
would be inclined to say such a thing because it would be such
a sweeping statement that no individual having a sense of
balance would make such a statement."

Under fire for his comments that
government schools are breeding ground for Naxalism, spritual
Guru Sri Sri Ravishankar today moved into a damage-control act
saying he never made a generalization and "great talents have
emerged from these schools".
"I did not say that all the government school breed
Naxalism. Great talents have been emerged from these schools
and I would never generalise," Ravishankar, the Art of Living
founder, said in a statement here.

"I specifically referred to sick government schools in
Naxal-affected areas. Many who have turned to Naxalism have
come from these schools," he said.

"Art of Living is running 185 pre-schools in such areas
and I urge more institutions to join this effort to spread
peace through education," he sid.

Talking to reporters at his Ashram here, Ravishankar said
today that he visited several Naxal-hit areas and found that
the condition of government schools there is poor and there is
a need for improvement.

Asked about his views about privatisation of education,
he said that sometimes, in comparison, students of private
schools excel over those from government schools.

A group of lawyers in Jaipur filed a criminal complaint
against Sri Sri Ravishankar, alleging the spiritual leader`s
comment "spread hatred" and "defamed" students passing out of
government schools.

The complaint was filed by three lawyers -- Surendra
Dhaka, Jai Prakash Sharma and Manu Pancholi -- in a magistrate
court in Jaipur.

The court which will hear the complaint on tomorrow.