'Shocking disregard…': Shashi Tharoor lashes out at 'shameless govt' for employing RSS members at Sainik schools

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Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre for employing members of Hindutva groups to run 60 per cent of the new Sainik schools. The Thiruvananthapuram MP called the move a ‘shocking disregard’ for the standards of these schools.

Tharoor was reacting to a Reporters’ Collective report that said the Ministry of Defence had chosen Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliates, BJP leaders, and other Hindutva groups, such as Sadhvi Rithambara, to run 60 per cent of new Sainik Schools, to train children for India’s armed forces.

Taking to Twitter, Tharoor slammed the Agniveer scheme, and termed it an “assault on professionalism” of the Indian Army. He then urged Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to withdraw the decision which “compromises India’s national security”.

“How on earth can this shameless government compromise India’s national security *and* its education system in this manner? The #Agniveer scheme is already an assault on the professionalism of our armed forces. Now this compounds the shocking disregard for the standards that have made our sainiks among the most respected in the world. Please withdraw this decision, @rajnathsingh ji!” the Congress MP wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

The report said that it has collated the information from the Centre’s press releases and Right to Information (RTI) replies which “show a concerning trend”. The findings of the report reveal that of the 40 Sainik School agreements so far, at least 62 per cent were awarded to schools linked to RSS and its allied organisations, politicians of BJP, its political allies and friends, Hindutva organisations, individuals, and other Hindu religious organisations.

In a first in the history of Sainik Schools, the government allowed private players to get affiliated with the schools, to receive “part financial support” and run their branches. In October 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a cabinet meeting that approved a proposal to run the schools “as an exclusive vertical which will be distinct and different from existing Sainik Schools of MoD.”

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Published: 03 Apr 2024, 03:04 PM IST

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