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Removal of Lesson on Bhagat Singh From Karnataka School Textbook Insult to Martyr: Kejriwal

The Karnataka government’s recent decision to remove a lesson about Bhagat Singh from Class 10 textbook has been receiving criticism from across sections. The latest dig has has been taken by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who called the Karnataka government’s decision “shameful”. Hitting at the BJP-led Karnataka government, now Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said it’s an insult to the sacrifice made by the iconic freedom fighter, and demanded that the Karnataka government restore the lesson in the school textbook.

Retweeting a news article by News18, the Delhi CM, said that the country will not tolerate such insult of its martyrs, and asked the BJP why “its people” hate Bhagat Singh so much.

“Why do BJP people hate Amar Shaheed Sardar Bhagat Singh ji so much? Removal of Sardar Bhagat Singh ji’s name from school books is an insult to the sacrifice of the amar shaheed,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

“The country will not tolerate such humiliation of its martyrs at all. The BJP government will have to take back this decision,” he added.

Minister defending the move

The CM’s reaction comes a day after Karnataka government decided to include  a speech by founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in a revised Kannada textbook for students of class X, while a lesson about Bhagat Singh has been removed. Additionally Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh has defended the inclusion of RSS founder speech.

Nagesh said the textbook does not contain anything about Hedgewar or RSS, but only his speech on what should be an inspiration to people, especially the youth, and that those who have raised objections have not gone through the textbook. “Some people want to object to everything and they feel what they have said is only the truth and only their thinking has to be told to society…In that speech, Hedgewar had said that one has to take ideology, values and principles as his or her inspiration. He has spoken about importance of society and the nation. What’s wrong with that?” the Minister said.

Opposing the move

The move has been objected by several organisations, including All-India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) and All-India Save Education Committee (AISEC).

The organisations alleged omission of a lesson on freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Also omitted are works by renaissance literary figures like A N Murthi Rao’s Vyaghrageethe’, P Lankesh’s Mruga Mattu Sundari,’ and Sara Aboobacker’s Yuddha,’ they said. The BJP government in the State is trying to force the ideology of RSS and the party into the textbooks, AISEC alleged in a statement.

“The founders of our renaissance movement and many great freedom fighters had hoped for democratic, scientific, and secular education. But all political parties that have ruled so far have been working out their own agendas in textbooks,” the student unions were quoted as saying by The Hindu.

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