Jaipur: Activists and students here on Saturday opposed the government's decision to withdraw Ambedkar's cartoon from NCERT textbooks.
   
At a protest meet organised by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Shiksha Ka Adhikar Manch, the activists and a group of 60 students voiced concern over the growing intolerance against free speech.
   
Professor Rohit Dhankar of Azim Premji University said, "Objection on cartoons in textbooks and intention to remove them was not a good thought."
   
Echoing his views, another activist said it is surprising that all political parties were united on objection raised by "extremist forces".
   
The cartoon, which had created furore in both Houses of the Parliament with members saying the sketch has hurt sentiments of a section of the society, depicted the slow pace of the drafting of the Constitution under the drafting committee headed by B R Ambedkar. Drawn by noted cartoonist Shankar, it was first published in 1949.
   
The cartoon showed first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with a whip in his hand standing behind Ambedkar, who is sitting over a snail named 'Constitution'. Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar resigned as advisors of NCERT textbook council on May 11 in the wake of the row over the cartoon.
   
Following the controversy, the government has set up a panel headed by former UGC chairman S K Thorat to review NCERT's political science textbooks for schools. The committee, which has five members from the social science background, will review class IX to XII social science/political science textbooks from the point of view of identifying educationally inappropriate material in them.

(Agencies)

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