Kerala not to withdraw controversial social science textbook

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Thiruvananthapuram, June 24 (UNI) The Kerala Government today announced in the State Assembly its decision not to withdraw the controversial seventh standard social science textbook, which was allegedly promoting ''atheism and anti-religious sentiments,'' amid a walkout by the Opposition.

Replying to an adjournment motion moved by the Congress-led UDF Opposition, Education Minister M A Baby said an expert committee, if needed, would be constituted in consultation with the Chief Minister to look into the controversial portions.

''We are ready for an open discussion with the Opposition and other organisations regarding this issue.'' Certain managements had said they would not teach the textbook in their schools, but this would not be tolerated, he said.

Rejecting the Opposition's allegation that the textbook contained anti-religious and pro-Communist materials as baseless, the Minister said the new textbook upheld the secular and democratic principles of the country. There was nothing that hurt the religious sentiments, he added.

Mr Baby repeatedly asked the Opposition to point out instances of anti-religious and pro-communist materials in the textbook.

He also refuted the allegation that independence struggle and Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi did not find prominence in the textbook.

''The Opposition should look into last year's textbook. There is even a mention of independence struggle in that textbook.'' The Opposition, expressing displeasure over the reply, staged a walkout.

Participating in the discussion, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Oommen Chandy said the textbook was poor in content, anti-religious, ignored independence struggle and social reformers and contained pro-communist materials.

''We will not allow the textbook to be taught in schools,'' he stressed.

Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani, who moved the adjournment motion, said the textbook would only lead to ''undesirable behavioural changes'' in the students. History had been distorted for propagating Marxist ideas, he alleged.


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