February 2, 2008 1:23:33 am
The last thing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would want is to be clubbed with Lashkar-e-Taiba. But in a state where the BJP is part of the ruling front and where the education minister is its own member, a prescribed text book has done just that.
The chapter on the ‘Existence of Terrorist Organisations’ in a textbook on ‘Indian Polity’ for second-year degree students in Orissa says: “Terrorist organizations create tension in in the country. Communal parties like the BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal, Hurriyat Conference and Laskhar-e-Taiba are responsible for fermenting violence… leading to the killing of hundreds in the country and especially Kashmir.”
The BJP is part of the ruling coalition in the state and its leader Samir Dey is the minister for higher education. Worse, the textbook has been taught here since 2003. The textbook is written by Amarendra Mohanty and Shyama Charan Mohanty and published by a Cuttack-based publisher Kitab Mahal.
On Thursday, a party worker in Salepur, about 60 km from the state capital, noticed it and lodged a FIR. Shyama Charan Mohanty is a reader in political science in the Sailabala Women’s College, Cuttack while Amarendra Mohanty retired as head of the political science department of the Ravenshaw College, Cuttack.
An embarrassed government immediately announced a monitoring committee to screen all textbooks while BJP workers took to the streets and burnt copies of the book. BJP spokesman Nayan Mohanty told The Indian Express, “We demand the arrest of the authors and withdrawal of the textbook.” Dey said the said the committee will look into legal aspects and act against the publishers.
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