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Kerala to probe national anthem error
George Iype in Kochi | September 20, 2004 15:09 IST
The Kerala government has ordered a probe into why the education department omitted for two years the word 'Gujarat' from the national anthem printed in Class IX math books.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party chief M Venkaiah Naidu have accused the Kerala government of deliberating omitting Gujarat.
They also blame the education department, headed by a minister belonging to the Indian Union Muslim League.
The BJP's Kerala unit is holding protest marches across the state on Monday.
But Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy says it was 'an inadvertent error'. Hundreds of textbooks are printed by the the State Council for Education, Research and Training prints hundreds of books every year, he reminded.
"But the error occurred only in the ninth standard mathematics textbook. It is incorrect that say that the mistake happened with a deliberate intention to hurt the sentiments of any section of the society," Chandy said.
The chief minister has now written an apology letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, clarifying that Kerala never wants to omit 'Gujarat' from its textbook.
Chandy also packed a corrected version of the particular textbook to Modi along with his apology letter. The copies of the letter and the textbook have been sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too.
Kerala's Education Minister E T Mohammed Basheer said that he has ordered a probe into the error. "I would like to tell the Gujarat government that we have not done anything intentional. It was a printing error. And we have just rectified it," Basheer told rediff.com on Monday
The minister said that a 'correction erratum' is being sent to alls schools where copies of textbooks with the mistake had been distributed.
Basher said an explanation has been sought from the official responsible for clearing the proof of the textbooks in question.
"The omission was neither intentional nor deliberate. I request political parties not to see communal overtones into this simple error," the minister added.
But BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said that it is unfortunate that the state government has taken the issue "lightly."
"We fear it was a calculated manipulation. We suspect that the Education Ministry headed by the Muslim League knew the error for long, but never cared to correct it," Pillai told rediff.com on Monday.
Pillai said the BJP leaders are scanning the entire school textbooks of the Kerala government to see what all 'errors have been printed in them'.
"All these years, the Congress leaders have been accusing the BJP of changing school textbooks. But it is the Marxists and the Congress government that are changing the basics of textbooks. This is a clear proof," Pillai said.
More reports from Kerala