NCERT advisor’s office ransacked over cartoon

Pune, May 12: Republican Party of India activists ransacked the office of an NCERT advisor, Suhas Palshikar, here Saturday, a day after he resigned in the wake of a row over a cartoon on B.R. Ambedkar in a school textbook, police said. Three people were detained.

Around 10 people went to his first-floor office on the University of Pune campus and shouted slogans against him and the NCERT (National Council for Educational Research and Training). They then broke furniture and sprinkled blue powder in his office.

Palshikar, however, was unhurt. Police have detained three people in connection with the attack.

RPI leader Parshuram Wadekar told IANS: ‘One has to understand that they attacked his (Palshikar’s) office as they were offended by the insult of Amdedkar.’

Palshikar said he had no complaint against the miscreants and the issue was being politicised unnecessarily.

‘This matter had first come up in 2006. If nothing was done then, what is the point in sensationalising it now?’ he asked.

The controversial cartoon, first published in 1949 by cartoonist Shankar in his weekly magazine and reproduced in NCERT Class 11 political science textbooks, depicts late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru with a whip in his hand chasing a snail, representing the constitution, on which is seated Ambedkar.

The cartoon depicts Nehru as asking Ambedkar to speed up the work on the constitution.

Palshikar justified the cartoon, and stated that there was nothing offensive about the cartoon and that it was drawn just for the better understanding of students.

Palshikar, a former head of Pune University’s department of politics, had resigned after the uproar in parliament over the issue Friday.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said in parliament earlier that he was not personally responsible for the row but had ‘no hesitation in apologising to the nation’.

Palshikar was a member of the ministry’s textbook development committee which approved the Class 11 textbook that contained the cartoon.

Political scientist Yogendra Yadav, who was the chief advisor of the committee, has also resigned.

IANS