New Delhi: The Lower House of the Parliament on Friday witnessed huge uproar over the publication of BR Ambedkar's derogatory cartoon in the NCERT textbooks.
However in view of the controversy, the government later agreed to remove the objectionable cartoon from the NCERT textbooks.
Giving his ministry’s stand on Ambedkar cartoon controversy, Union HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal said, “All such content will be removed from NCERT text books next year”.
“A committee formed by the HRD Ministry is already reviewing all such objectionable matters in textbooks,” Sibal further said.
The move comes shortly after the Opposition, which raised the issue in Lok Sabha, demanded an explanation on the issue from the Kapil Sibal.
However, despite Sibal’s assurance the Opposition continued to disrupt the House, which compelled the Speaker to adjourn the Lok Sabha.
Earlier, Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee had assured the opposition MPs that Kapil Sibal would brief the Parliament on the issue.
The Finance Minister hailed Dr Ambedkar’s contribution to the Indian society and expressed concern over the cartoon controversy.
Reacting to the controversy, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said, “Dr Ambedkar is a towering personality, who framed the Constitution of India and the Parliament is running on it.”
"This is an insult on 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.
Interestingly, Congress leader, PL Punia too criticized Kapil Sibal and demanded an apology over the incident.
The Barabanki MP said that he has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi regarding the issue. “Prime Minister tried to contact the HRD Minister but wasn’t able to do so,” Punia said.
“We will wait and then decide on future course of action, and it’s for the Prime Minister to decide whether resignation should be demanded from the Education Minister,” Punia said when asked about whether he would demand Sibal’s resignation.
RJD leader Lalu Prasad termed Ambedkar's depiction in the cartoon as "very sad" and said it should not have happened.
He said Ambedkar had a very big role in framing of the Constitution.
Striking a similar note, JD-U president Sharad Yadav said that he was anguished over the depiction and hoped that it will be removed from the book soon.
The objectionable cartoon, credited to Shankar's Children's Book Trust appears in chapter I, titled "Indian Constitution at Work" in the political science subject in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum.
Last month Dalits across Maharashtra threatened to launch an agitation to protest the "derogatory" depiction of BR Ambedkar in a textbook.
Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale had also demanded withdrawal of the book.
Discussing the making of the Indian Constitution post-Independence, the chapter carried a small box item, which according to Athawale, "Lampoons BR Ambedkar astride a snail with reins in hand and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru standing behind brandishing a whip".
First Published: Friday, May 11, 2012, 12:20