New Delhi: Members in the Lok Sabha on Monday united in criticising cartoons in NCERT books allegedly denigrating political leaders, particularly the one on B.R. Ambedkar, with the government promising that all objectionable material would be removed and the role of NCERT advisers probed.

"We ordered withdrawal of the Ambedkar cartoon April 26... the role of the NCERT advisers would be probed," Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told the Lok Sabha after the members expressed their concern over the issue during zero hour.

"The government appreciates the concern of the house... I have reviewed the class XI book on political science and found many cartoons in it were offensive... we will ensure that only educationally appropriate material goes into NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) books," he said, adding that distribution of the books has been stopped.Sibal also said NCERT advisers Suhas Palshikar and Yogendra Yadav had resigned over the issue.

Earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used the opportunity to demand Sibal's removal. "Of late, I have noticed a tendency among some people to denigrate politicians, parliamentarians and even parliament... just removing the cartoons from the text books would not do... HRD minister Kapil Sibal should go," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said.

He said these books have an impact on "impressionable minds".NDA convenor and Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav supported his view. "Sibal should be removed, so that future HRD ministers are cautious," said Yadav. Sibal had May 11 assured the house that all "objectionable" material from NCERT books would be removed.

Stating that "bashing the politicians has become a fashion", Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam said the role of NCERT advisers needed to be probed. "Who are these so-called intellectuals," asked Nirupam. The Left parties, too, said the trend of showing the politicians in bad light was not good for the country.

"The whole country is being polluted... there is a general atmosphere that all politicians are thieves," said Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta.Observing that the issue did not concern any single party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav said "it brought the parliamentarians together".

Recalling a 1980 cartoon which depicted him as a dacoit, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said the house should take the issue seriously. In an emotional outburst against cartoons denigrating politicians, Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal said there is "a wave of revulsion against politicians".However, National Conference leader Sharifuddin Shariq said the parliamentarians should not be irked if some cartoons have been published against them.

(Agencies)

 

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