Ambedkar cartoon sparks uproar in House

Ambedkar cartoon sparks uproar in House

A cartoon of the main architect of Constitution B R Ambedkar, drawn in 1948 and printed in an NCERT text book in 2006,  triggered a massive uproar in Parliament on Friday.

Members described the cartoon as “insulting”, forcing the UPA government to extend an apology amid pandemonium in both the Houses over the issue.

The issue, which triggered protests in Tamil Nadu recently and also in Mumbai sometime back, was raised by Thol Thirumaa Valavan of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) in the Lok Sabha.

In the Rajya Sabha, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members raised the pitch over the controversial caricature, calling it an “intolerable insult” to the Dalit icon. Parliamentarians cutting across party lines supported the BSP MPs over the issue.

There were repeated adjournments in both the Houses following the Opposition ruckus over the issue. The BSP, SP, RJD, AIADMK, CPI and VCK members carrying photocopies of the cartoon, rushed into the Well in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, forcing two adjournments of both the Houses before lunch.

Amid the pandemonium, the HRD minister Kapil Sibal in his response to the members’ protests informed the Lok Sabha that his Ministry had already asked the Director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to withdraw it from the textbooks of Political Science, ‘Indian Constitution at Work’, on April 26.

Sibal said distribution of these textbooks had been stopped and a review ordered, not just of the cartoons but also of the content of the textbooks. “For the next year we will remove all these cartoons.  But even this year, till we review the situation, the present textbooks will not be distributed,” he said. The minister also extended an apology for printing the cartoon in the text book.

Academicians resign over row

Academicians Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar, part of the board that allowed publication of the NCERT textbook with B R Ambedkar’s cartoon, in 2006, resigned as chief advisors of the council’s Textbook Development Committee here on Friday., reports DHNS from New Delhi.

Yadav is also a senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, while Palshikar is a professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration in the University of Pune.

Palshikar said he quit because view of the textbook committee he was a part of , now varies with what the MPs think.

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