The protesting Congress leaders, led by DK Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah and BK Hariprasad, said that they would continue agitating until the textbooks are withdrawn.

DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah among other Congress leaders protesting the BJP government
news Protest Friday, June 10, 2022 - 09:21

The Congress in Karnataka on Thursday, June 9, staged a protest in Bengaluru urging the state government to withdraw the controversial revised school textbooks, and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, accusing his administration of distorting history and "saffronising" education “as per RSS' directions”. Amid sloganeering by calling the state government "RSS' puppet", "anti-people", "anti-Constitution" and "corrupt", the protest was held in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue at the premises of Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state secretariat and legislature in the capital city.

The protesters accused the BJP-led government of insulting prominent religious, social and freedom movement figures like Basavanna, BR Ambedkar, Narayana Guru, Kuvempu and Bhagat Singh, among others, and alleged that it was saffronising education and introducing 'Manuvad’ into it, and further accused the government of “distorting history” and “spreading hatred among students”.

The protest, attended by several state Congress legislators and leaders, was led by state president D K Shivakumar, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition in the Council BK Hariprasad, among others. Accusing the government of trying to distort the state's and country's culture and history by bringing in "Nagpur Education Policy" and with an "unfit person" as the head of textbook review committee, Shivakumar said, "You (the government) have made us bow down our heads in shame by insulting state and national icons."

The Congress will continue its agitation on the issue, he said, "Withdraw this revised textbook, bring back the old ones, throw the revised one into the dustbin...they (BJP) tried to revise books according to their whims and fancies. Basavaraj Bommai should resign first, Bommai and the BJP government should go."

Siddaramaiah alleged that the textbooks have been revised as per the directions of RSS by “distorting history with an aim to saffronise education”, and that they must be withdrawn.

Read: Despite CM Bommai's assurances, textbooks being printed with controversial changes

Pointing out that the government under pressure from literary figures and intellectuals had disbanded the textbook review committee, Siddaramaiah said the textbooks revised by this committee must also be withdrawn and should not be taught to students.

The state government had last week disbanded the textbook review committee headed by Rohith Chakratirtha, stating its designated work was completed, and had said that the government is open for further revision if there are any objectionable contents. Amid the raging controversy over the textbook issue, state Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh on Tuesday, June 7, had said the government has decided to place before the people the contents of the original textbooks and those revised by the erstwhile Congress and the present BJP regimes.

The controversy had erupted with some organisations raising objections over the alleged replacing of a chapter on Bhagat Singh with an essay on a speech by RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in the revised Kannada textbook for Class 10. However, while BC Nagesh clarified that both the Hedgewar and Bhagat Singh chapters would stay in the textbooks, several Kannada literary figures including Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy, Irappa Kambali, Devanur Mahadevappa and Dr G Ramakrishna had expressed their displeasure with the government, and wanted their works to be withdrawn from the new textbooks.

Read: Karnataka textbook committee chief's sexist tweets from 2016 surface, spark outrage

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