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Sibal opposes cartoons on political class in textbooks

May 14, 2012 20:32 IST

Under attack over the cartoon row, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday acknowledged that cartoons on the political class should not find a place in textbooks as they influence the impressionable minds of students.

Holding that the issue is not about the content of the cartoons but about their inclusion in textbooks, he said the impression should not go to the world that the political class is corrupt and bereft of any principles.

"We believe textbooks are not the place where these issues should be influencing impressionable minds. That's our position," the minister told media persons outside Parliament.

Noting that freedom of expression is contextual, Sibal, who has come under sharp attack from the opposition as well as from within his party over the cartoon of B R Ambedkar in an NCERT political science textbook, said a cartoon acceptable in newspapers may not be fit for a textbook as the recent controversy has highlighted.

"The same cartoon in a newspaper may well be acceptable but the same cartoon or a series of such cartoons attacking the political class or a community in a textbook which has a tendency to influence impressionable minds may well not be acceptable", he said.

Sibal said he disagreed with the views of NCERT advisors Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar that the cartoon on Ambedkar should not be interpreted in a manner in which the MPs had interpreted it and therefore decided to remove them.

Yadav and Palshikar, who as advisors of the textbook had approved the cartoon, had stepped down after the row.

The minister said the removal of the content will not affect the students in anyway as they will get the books on time.

"Students will get their books. All these will be done within one month. Printing will be done once again after remove the cartoon and than distributed," he said.

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