The government of Haryana has decided to add the Gayatri Mantra, a Hindu prayer, to the morning prayers in schools in the state, Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said on Sunday.

“Among the prayers to god, Gayatri Mantra is the supreme mantra,” Sharma said, according to PTI. “We decided to add recitation of the Gayatri Mantra in the morning prayers conducted at schools.”

The education minister said the government had made the decision after meeting school principals, teachers and other stakeholders in the matter on Friday and will issue a notice on it on Tuesday. Sharma claimed that the government made the decision after its move to include the Bhagvad Gita in the school syllabus “yielded positive results”, The Indian Express reported.

“Now, we are going to add the Gayatri Mantra in the prayer meetings of schools so the children can understand its meaning,” he said.

The Opposition Congress has criticised the decision, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party government of using tactics to “divert people’s attention” from the real problems in the state, especially the plight of farmers. Haryana Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry said the government was “chasing the wrong priorities”.

Haryana Vidyalaya Adhyapak Sangh President Wazir Singh claimed that the Gayatri Mantra was already part of morning prayers in most of the state’s schools. “We are living in a secular country and equal importance should be given to the practices of all religions,” he told The Indian Express. “The government should focus more on the issues like recruitment of teachers and strengthening the infrastructure for the schools.”

In response to the criticism, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, “Moral values must be inculcated in children to make them grow as responsible citizens and become an asset to the society.”