by IANS | Mon, Feb 20, 2023, 03:30 PM
Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh), Feb 20 (IANS) In a controversial move, the authorities at Sri Krishnadevaraya University will conduct special religious rituals to stop 'untimely' deaths of its employees.
Sri Dhanavanthari Maha Mruthyunjaya Shanthi Homam will be performed on the university campus on February 24. The decision has been taken in view of the death of several staff members of the university staff in recent times.
According to a circular issued by the university Registrar Prof M.V. Lakshmaiah, by the directions of the Vice-Chancellor Prof. M. Ramakrishna Reddy, the Homam is proposed to be performed on February 24 at 8.30 a.m. at S.K University Kreeda Vedhika 'to have the blessings of the Almighty to all the employees and students of the university'.
The Registrar has requested the employees who are willing to participate voluntarily in Homam to contribute a minimum Rs 500. He has fixed Rs 500 contribution for teaching staff and Rs 100 for non-teaching staff to bear the expenditure for the Homam.
The Mrityuanjaya Homam is performed to save one from a serious illness that can prove fatal. This is conducted with the belief that it extends life expectancy and cures chronic illness and protects against enemies.
The university's move has come under flak from rationalists. Babu Gogineni, who calls himself a science popularizer and humanist, slammed the university authorities.
Taking to social media, he called the Vice-Chancellor 'foolish' and the Registrar 'brainless'. He wonders how a Vice Chancellor, who has done PhD in Geology and the Registrar, who has done PhD in Electronics, can spread superstition by conducting a ritual to stop the untimely deaths of employees in their university. He pointed out that this is not a private programme run by the employees association but orders have been given by the Vice Chancellor.
Stating that the Indian constitution is secular constitution, Babu Gogineni said that it also dictates the primary duty of the citizens to strive for scientific inspiration, social reform, and humanism. "The courts have also confirmed the matter. Police department will have special budget allocations to take art forms to villages to create awareness among people that people are being harmed due to micro rituals and tantric rituals. Some states across the country also have laws to eradicate superstitions and prosecute those who spread them," he wrote
He called on people to complain against the Vice Chancellor and Registrar and urge the University Grants Commission (UGC) to save the university.