Uttarakhand govt in Cong line of fire for ‘forcing’ officials to attend spritual guru’s lecture | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand govt in Cong line of fire for ‘forcing’ officials to attend spritual guru’s lecture

The Congress has criticised the BJP government for directing officials to attend a lecture by Swami Hari Chaitanyapuri here on Friday, dubbing the move as illegal and asking chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to seek an explanation from the officer who issued the order.

dehradun Updated: Feb 03, 2018 21:20 IST
Deep Joshi
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat  with Swami Hari Chaitanyapuri  during a function in Dehradun.
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat with Swami Hari Chaitanyapuri during a function in Dehradun.(HT Photo)

The Congress has criticised the BJP government for directing officials to attend a lecture by Swami Hari Chaitanyapuri here on Friday, dubbing the move as illegal and asking chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to seek an explanation from the officer who issued the order.

“The government issuing an order asking officials to attend functions of swamis or spiritual gurus is illegal,” said state Congress president Pritam Singh. “That means it will continue directing officials to attend functions of all such preachers who will visit the state.”

The matter “is serious” if the official issued the order with the chief minister’s permission, Singh said. “The issue doesn’t become less serious if the official issued the order on his own,” he added. “In that case, the chief minister should immediately take cognizance of such an order and seek an explanation from the official.”

The letter signed by the CM’s additional chief secretary Om Prakash, a copy of which is available with HT, was issued on February 1. When contacted, he chose not to comment on the letter.

Addressed to officials from the chief secretary to additional secretaries to departmental heads, the letter asked them to gather at a function to listen to Swami Chaitanyapuri. It stated that the function would be chaired by the chief minister.

The letter mentioned that the spiritual guru had recently represented India at an ‘universal peace conference’ held recently in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh, secretary (energy) Radhika Jha and secretary (information) Pankaj Pandey were among the officials who attended the function.

Chief minister Rawat said the lecture delivered by the spiritual guru at Seoul on India’s cultural and spiritual traditions enhanced the country’s prestige.

“Forcing officials to attend such functions is also unethical,” said Congress leader Surendra Kumar. “The move was also anti-development as officials were forced to attend Swami Chaitanyapuri’s lecture at a time when they are busy preparing the state’s budget that would set the direction of the state’s development.”

Kumar, however, said there could be no bar on the officials if they wished to attend such lectures and functions as private individuals.

The chief minister’s office dubbed the Congress allegations as nitpicking. “Their (Congress) allegations are laughable. Officials were invited to attend the lecture delivered by the spiritual guru, so they could get some international perspective on issues,” said the chief minister’s media coordinator Darshan Singh Rawat.

“Like by us, he was also felicitated by several state governments because the lecture he delivered on the theme of India’s spiritual traditions in Seoul enhanced its prestige worldwide,” he said.