NCERT will remove Ambedkar cartoon from textbooks: Sibal
PTI NEW DELHI Amid uproar in Parliament over a cartoon of B R Ambedkar in NCERT textbooks, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday “apologised” over the objectionable content, saying he has directed removal of the material and stoppage of distribution of books. He appealed to political parties not to make it an issue for vote bank politics.
”...I am willing to personally apologise for it though I was not the minister at that time in 2006. I was involved in the publication of the books,” Sibal told reporters outside Parliament House.
He said there was no question of anybody trying to malign Ambedkar or anybody trying to make fun of him because that “I think will be against the secular ethos of our country“.
Sibal said much before the issue came to Parliament, he had taken action on it and set up a committee to look at the entire gamut of cartoons in textbooks and their content to ensure material of this nature is taken out of textbooks.
“This issue came to my notice sometime towards April and we sought an explanation from NCERT and after the explanation had come, we took the decision on April 27 that this particular cartoon should be withdrawn from NCERT textbooks on political science,” he said.
Sibal said the government further decided that the textbooks which contain the cartoon shall not be distrubuted.
The wholesalers, he said, have also been asked to stop distribution of the textbooks.
Meanwhile, the issue of Ambedkar cartoon in an NCERT book has threatened to snowball into a crisis with BSP chief Mayawati on Friday declaring she will not allow Parliament to function if immediate action was not taken against those responsible for the act within three day.
“This is an insult to Indian democracy. The government should intervene and take strong action against those, who are involved in this. If it failed to do so, we will wait for two to three days or else our party will not allow the House to run”, Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament.
Members of her party forced adjournments in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha over the issue and disallowed Sibal from making a statement. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan also slammed the publication as “highly deplorable”.
He said that those who have made this kind of cartoon and also those who endorsed it should not only be suspended but should be booked under the SC/ST act.
Wondering how can such objectionable material creep into NCERT books, a visibly angry Paswan said, “NCERT should be closed down.”