The Bible and the Quran are religious texts but the Bhagavad Gita is not as it speaks about the “values and life” and not religious practices, Karnataka Education Minister BC Nagesh said on Wednesday, the Hindustan Times reported.
He made the comment in Mangaluru while responding to reporters on whether the state government planned to make the Bhagavad Gita part of the Moral Science syllabus in schools. Religious books and practices cannot be introduced in schools registered under the Karnataka Education Act, the minister said.
“Bible and Quran are not allowed in schools as they are religious texts, and the block education officers have been asked to verify as there are some allegations that institutions run by Christians are asking children to carry Bible in bags and keep it with them during prayer,” he said.
His comments came after Bangalore Archbishop Peter Machado questioned that if the government made it mandatory for students to carry copies of the Hindu religious text, would it be construed as making an attempt to convert them.
The archbishop was responding to allegations made by Hindutva organisation Hindu Janajagruti Samiti that the Clarence High School in Bengaluru had made it mandatory for students to carry the Bible with the aim of forcibly converting non-Christians.
Nagesh on Wednesday said the state government would not interfere in the administration of the schools and colleges run by minority institutions, but stressed that they cannot introduce changes in the curriculum when registered under Karnataka Education Act.
The minister also told reporters that catechism classes cannot be held in schools registered under the Act, The New Indian Express reported. Catechism classes are used to explain students the basic tenets of Christianity.