In a memorandum to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and other top officials, three major Catholic organisations have said they are feeling "hurt" by the decision of the education department to adjust the extra Ganeshotsav holidays against the Christmas vacation.
The memorandum has been sent by Association of Concerned Catholics, Catholics for Preservation of Faith and Maharasthra Christian Youth Forum.
This year, the state government gave two additional days' vacation to all Mumbai schools to enable people take part in the Ganeshotsav without worrying about missing school schedules. According to the Catholic groups, the education department has not declared these as new holidays, but adjusted two holidays - Dec 23 and Dec 31 - from the annual Christmas vacation.
The Catholic groups have said that while they have no objections to granting extra holidays for Ganeshotsav, why should these be adjusted against the Christian religious week of Christmas and New Year. "We feel betrayed by the education department. It is supposed to set an example of equality, justice, etc. in the young minds is not only being unfair but setting an open example of disparity," said AOCC general secretary Judith Monteiro.
The groups said that since Christmas service is on midnight of Dec 24, cancellation of Dec 23 holiday gives the Christians little or no time to prepare for the Eucharistic celebrations. Besides, the Christians will not be able to travel out to celebrate Christmas with their parents, grandparents or relatives as the school will remain open till the evening of Dec 23.
In addition, the liturgical calendar of the Catholic community celebrates Jan 1 as the community New Year universally and they termed as "unfair" the cancellation the New Year eve holiday and reopening the schools that day.
The Catholics demanded that the decision should have been left to the discretion of the schools in the state to adjust the extra holidays granted during Ganeshotsav against their weekly holidays which could have prevented the present situation.
Monteiro said that the representatives of the Catholic community would call on Chavan to explain the scenario and urge him to reverse the decision.