Ambedkar toon row: 'Young minds shouldn't be poisoned', says Harsimrat

Last Updated: Mon, May 14, 2012 19:03 hrs

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday condemned the cartoons making fun of leaders like Dr. B.R. Ambedkar finding their way into textbooks, saying it is the collective responsibility of every individual of the country including the media to ensure that the young minds are not poisoned, but given a fair picture of the reality.

"I think 'Freedom of Press' yes I am all for it, freedom for expressing your views all for it, but to mislead and poison young minds is I think totally unforgivable and I don't know how you can say we are becoming intolerant. I am becoming intolerant of the wrong stuff that is being spread in the minds of youngsters. I agree you show them two sides of the coin and let them make a decision," Harsimrat told the media outside Parliament here.

Harsimrat, the Member of Parliament from Bhatinda, said acts like these demean the veteran leaders and weakens the democracy.

"But how can you given them one-sided vision and poison their minds against something that to a democracy, which is supposed to be inclusive where we are supposed to teach our youngsters to look up at those forefathers, who have made the largest democracy in the world, and we have reached where we are today where the whole world looks at us. And today we are just demeaning those very leaders and weakening that democracy and it's being all done by the government sitting here," she added.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee earlier on Monday said that books depicting 'derogatory' cartoon of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar would be not be prescribed as textbooks

"All objectionable material in the books and if it is necessary that whole (all) books should be withdrawn. Whatever has been circulated, it will be withdrawn as soon as possible and those books will not be prescribed as the textbook. The entire publication will be withdrawn and what action have been further taken in the context of the assurance which I have given, HRD Minister (Kapil Sibal) or myself will inform the House as soon as those actions have been taken," he told the Lok Sabha.

The issue of controversial cartoons in textbooks generated heat in the Lok Sabha earlier today with members demanding immediate action in the matter, saying the sketch has hurt sentiments of a section of the society. They demanded that the CBSE textbooks carrying the cartoons should be removed immediately.

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