Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Deve Gowda and state Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar shared the stage on Saturday to participate in a protest called by civil rights groups, writers, and religious seers to seek the withdrawal of new school textbooks introduced by the state government.
The opposition parties, rights groups, writers and seers have accused the BJP government of saffronising school textbooks and casting key social reformers such as Basavanna and Dr B R Ambedkar in a lesser light in new school books.
Shivakumar ripped a copy of the new textbook and said the government should withdraw the revised textbook or face its downfall.
Deve Gowda said: “A final call has been given to the government (to withdraw the textbooks). D K Shivakumar has shown his anger by tearing the textbook. I would like to request you to keep the Gokak agitation as your guidance. People of the whole state participated (in the agitation).”
“We should not do politics on this issue; we will support any decision you take,” the former PM told the audience.
Stating that the Constitution of India should be the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayan, Bible, and Quran of all citizens, Shivakumar said, “Karnataka should be the land of Basavanna, Kanakadasa, Shishunalla Sharif, and Kuvempu. All communities must be taken along. Our thinkers and reformers have all been insulted. No one can tolerate this, cutting across political lines. We have to protect the heritage of the state and that is why we are protesting.”
Shivakumar also asked why no one from the right-wing had raised objections if they were not in favor of the textbooks that were revised by the Baragur Ramachandrappa committee under the Congress-led government.