36 PGIMER nursing students punished for not listening to PM's 'Mann Ki Baat'

All PGIMER, Chandigarh students were compulsorily asked to attend the broadcast of the 100th episode of 'Mann Ki Baat' that was aired on April 30

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik  created a sand sculpture of 100 radios and a cameo of the PM to celebrate the 100th episode of 'Mann Ki Baat' (photo courtesy @sudarsansand/Twitter)
Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sand sculpture of 100 radios and a cameo of the PM to celebrate the 100th episode of 'Mann Ki Baat' (photo courtesy @sudarsansand/Twitter)

NH Digital

36 nursing students from the National Institute of Nursing Education, part of the central government-run Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) at Chandigarh were barred from leaving their hostel for a week for missing an official gathering to listen to the 100th episode of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat.

The hospital authorities had made it compulsory for the first- and third-year students to listen to the radio broadcast on April 30 at the institute.

The nursing college authorities issued an order on May 3 informing the students—28 from the third year and 8 from the first year—that they would not be allowed to step out of the hostel for a week.

After facing backlash from the larger public over the decision, PGIMER issued a 'clarification' on Thursday night. The statement said that 'Since some of the students did not share any reason for not attending the session and abstained from the event arranged for them in a lecture theatre, the college authorities took action against them'.

'Banning the outing of the nursing students after classes in evening due to non-attending the Mann Ki Baat programme was an overreaction on part of the nursing college authorities and the concerned have already been conveyed the displeasure of PGIMER administration,' the statement read.

The PGIMER administration also 'humbly' urged that the issue not be 'given any other connotation or blown out of proportion in the larger public interest'.

The incident has, however, sparked a good bit of condemnation on social media.

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra took a dig at Centre following the incident. "I haven’t listened to monkey baat either. Not once. Not ever. Am I going to be punished as well? Will l be forbidden from leaving my house for a week? Seriously worried now," she tweeted.

Journalist and author Swati Chaturvedi tweeted: "Why on earth is not listening to Modi’s Mann Ki Baat a punishable offence? Banana republic India!"

Academic, writer and former Indian chairperson to UNESCO, Ashok Swain wrote: "36 nursing students of the National Institute of Nursing Education, Chandigarh have been barred from stepping out of the hostel for a week for not listening to Modi’s 100th episode of Mann Ki Baat on April 30. Modi has made India a joke."

Telangana Congress tweeted, along with an illustration of a bearded and bespectacled face in outline, wearing handcuffs instead of glasses and an extra cuff over the open mouth: "Not listening to HIS Mann Ki Baat deserves PUNISHMENT now."

The PGIMER clarification suggested that the broadcast was compulsory 'purely with an intent to enable [students] to attend the aforementioned episode as a part of their regular curricular activities wherein talks, guest lectures and discussions are arranged regularly by best speakers, experts, professionals to impart them value education.'

In an earlier episode, the Prime Minister had interacted with an organ donor's family, a case study of a transplantation at PGIMER, which was 'hugely morale boosting', the statement also pointed out.

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