Teacher in India Wins the Right to Opt Out of School Prayer

There’s a happy conclusion to last month’s story about Sanjay Salve, a public school teacher who was denied pay raises due to him because he refused to pray at a school function. Rather than folding his hands to pray, Salve would hold his hands behind his back, as he describes it, “wondering why I should pray to the god of a religion which I do not follow.” The headmaster was not happy, and Salve was denied regular pay raises.

But now, The Hindu Times reports that the school has backed down:

The Savitribai Phule Secondary School in Nashik informed a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday that it was ready to pay Mr. Salve’s dues from 2008, the year from which he was eligible for a higher pay scale. The school also agreed to let him stand without folding his hands during prayers.

And it only took six years.

Salve’s act is particularly brave in the light of the recent persecution and even murder of high profile atheists and skeptics in India. For his sake, I hope this is the end of this fight for him and that he faces no further repercussions.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Paul Fidalgo

Paul is communications director for the Center for Inquiry, as well as an actor and musician. His blog is iMortal, and he tweets as @paulfidalgo, and the blog tweets as @iMortal_blog.
The opinions expressed on this blog are personal to Paul and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inquiry.

  • LesterBallard

    Yeah, he obviously needs to be looking over his shoulder.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    No one should be forced to say a prayer or recite an oath of any kind. No one. Any where. If the law says they do, that law is wrong.

    • Cyanmoon1

      And why would anyone think a coerced prayer or oath is worth anything?

  • Mick

    The Savitribai Phule Secondary School in Nashik informed a Division
    Bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday that it was ready to pay Mr.
    Salve’s dues.

    Did they stipulate when payments will start and how large each payment will be? If not, then Mr Salve may still have a fight on his hands.

  • cryofly

    And now it is the student’s turn.

  • Robster

    From what I understand, 6 years in India is considered a speedy outcome.


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