Cartoon row: Ex-NCERT advisor’s office attacked



Cartoon row: Ex-NCERT advisor’s office attacked Zeenews Bureau

Pune: A day after the row over Dr BR Ambedkar’s cartoon hit Parliament, several workers of the Republican Panthers Party on Saturday afternoon created ruckus at the Pune office of former advisor to NCERT, Prof Suhas Palshikakr.

As per reports, around five to six workers of RPP attacked the office located at Pune University campus and began ransacking and damaging furniture while shouting slogans.

Palshikar was unharmed in the incident, Pune police said.

Police said the persons involved in the incident had been invited by Palshikar for discussion in his office after they raised objections on the cartoon.

Police have detained three persons in connection with the incident.

After the incident, Palshikar told a news channel, “I haven’t asked for police protection although police were very prompt in arriving at the office.”

"I do not hold any grudge against the persons who actually ransacked the premises. It will be more appropriate if those instigated them are told that this is not the way to protest", Palshikar added.

Later, an RPP spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the cartoon amounted to an "insult" to the Dalit icon.

Palshikar, a former head of Pune University's Department of Politics and another chief adviser of the committee, Yogender Yadav had resigned on Friday in the wake of the row over Ambedkar cartoon in school text books.

Condemning the incident, Political scientist Yogendra Yadav called it "tragic and sad" and also "farcical".

"For someone who has taught me Ambedkar, for him to be attacked in the name of Ambedkar...Nothing can be more farcical, tragic and sad than this," Yadav told a TV channel.

Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar said the Father of the Indian Constitution himself wouldn't have opposed the cartoon. Prakash, however, said he always feared a political controversy will erupt over the cartoon at some point of time.

While resigning from his NCERT post, Palshikar had described the ruckus in both Houses of Parliament over the cartoon row as "unfortunate".

He added that "space for debate in democracy is shrinking".

Dr BR Ambedkar’s cartoon was published in XI Class NCERT books which led to an uproar in Parliament on Friday on which HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had tendered an apology.

Palshikar was a member of the HRD Ministry's Textbook Development Committee, which had approved the Class XI social science textbook that contained the cartoon.

(With agency inputs)