Amid uproar in Parliament over a cartoon of B R Ambedkar in NCERT textbooks,HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today “apologised” over the objectionable content,saying he has directed the cartoon be removed and distribution of concerned books stopped.
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. “I think that 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 was taken out.
“This issue came to my notice sometime towards April and we sought an explanation from NCERT and after that we took the decision on April 27 that this particular cartoon should be withdrawn from NCERT textbooks on political science,” he said.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 today further decided that the textbooks which contain the cartoon shall not be distributed. The wholesalers,he said,have also been asked to stop distribution of these textbooks.
The cartoon of B R Ambedkar in an NCERT book threatened to snowball into a crisis with BSP chief Mayawati today declaring she will not allow Parliament to function if action was not taken against those responsible for the act within three days.
“This is an insult on Indian democracy. The government should intervene and take strong action against those who are involved in this. If it fails 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.
UPA’s key ally Trinamool Congress also termed as “a crime and a very shameful matter” the issue of the cartoon and demanded “strong action” against officials responsible for it.
“This is a very shameful matter. This is a crime. Whoever has published it,who drew it… it spoils image of not only the government,but the entire country,” Trinamool Congress leader and Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed told reporters outside Parliament House.