New Delhi: Activists and cartoonists on Friday came on a single platform to protest against the removal of the Ambedkar toon from textbooks and lamented that MPs who objected to it did not read a "single line" of the book.

 At the protest meet organised by the Foundation of Media Professional at Press Club here, cartoonists protested by drawing cartoons while activists voiced concern over the growing intolerance against free speech.

Yogendra Yadav, who resigned as advisor of NCERT in the wake of the episode, said, "Not one MP in the Lok Sabha quoted from the text written in the book. Not one of our honourable MPs has read even a single line."

However, in a lighter vein, he said he is "grateful" to the parliamentarians. "These books were published six years ago but public at large didn't pay much attention towards these books. The Parliament has done a favour by drawing public attention to them.

"And honestly, I cannot be more grateful to them. I wish this cartoon should be shown millions of time," he said.

The cartoon which has created furore a week back in the parliament depicted the slow pace of the drafting of the Constitution under the drafting committee headed by BR Ambedkar. Drawn by noted cartoonist Shankar, it was first published in 1949.

Team Anna member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan claimed that "their actions have proved that the people who are sitting in the parliament, people who are running the government, deserved to be lampooned.

"What it shows is the very dangerous state of our democracy that a country is virtually forced to elect people of this kind who apart from displaying a complete lack of understanding of things, show themselves to be the people who are not going to tolerate any kind of criticism, people who will go to any level to suppress criticism."

Somit, a cartoonist, speaking at the meet questioned, "If you say to a writer that your book will not be read by the audience, that has a solution, but if you say that your book will not be published than it is problematic."


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