New Delhi: With protests against an anti-Hindi agitation cartoon in a NCERT class XII text book gathering steam in the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday termed the cartoon as “unacceptable” and demanded its immediate removal.
Condemning the cartoon, she slammed the attempt to project the anti-Hindi agitation as "violence", while expressing her displeasure over the cartoon which suggested that students from Tamil Nadu did not understand English.
"The attempt to project anti-Hindi agitation as violence is unacceptable…to suggest that Tamil students did not understand English hurts Tamil sentiment," she was quoted as saying.
The piece by renowned cartoonist R K Laxman printed in the class XII political science book is seen by the Dravidian parties as showing the student agitators against Hindi in 1965 in a poor light.
DMK chief Karunanidhi had asked the Centre to immediately remove the cartoons from the textbooks saying that the 1938 and 1965 anti-Hindi agitations are moments of pride for the party.
The anti-Hindi agitation played a significant role in the Dravidian movement and was one of the reasons for the DMK capturing power in 1967, toppling the then Congress government.
The issue was highlighted by MDMK leader Vaiko who began the protests against the cartoon.
Yesterday, the government had said the panel set up last month to review political science textbooks containing BR Ambedkar`s cartoon is also examining "inappropriate material" on Tamil movement.
In a statement, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said the NCERT has already constituted a committee on May 14 to review the classes IX , XII Social Science/Political Science textbooks of NCERT from the point of view of identifying educationally inappropriate material in them and to provide suggestions for alternatives to be placed in the textbooks.
"This issue (cartoon on anti-Hindi movement in the NCERT text books) is also being examined by the committee as a part of the exercise undertaken by the committee" constituted under the chairmanship of SK Thorat, Chairman, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Sibal, who is in Washington, said.