Shankar/ Doll Museum/ NCERT
B R Ambedkar cartoon in NCERT's STD XI Political Science text book.
Ambedkar's Cartoon, Aircel-Maxis Issues Disrupt LS, RS
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Proceedings in Parliament were today disrupted due to turmoil over a cartoon of B R Ambedkar in a NCERT text book and row over Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

Carrying photocopies of the cartoon, members of BSP, SP, RJD, AIADMK and CPI rushed into the Well in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, forcing two adjournments of both Houses before lunch.

BSP members in Rajya Sabha raised the cartoon issue during Question Hour twice when HRD Minister Kapil Sibal was replying to a question relating to OBC students in IITs, IIMs and central universities.

Brajesh Pathak (BSP) demanded action against those responsible for publishing the cartoon, as his supporters shouted slogans like 'Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahin chalegi', 'Babasaheb ka yeh apamaan, nahin sahega Hindustan' (This anti-Dalit government won't continue, India will not tolerate disrespect to Ambedkar).

The agitated members demanded sacking of Sibal, who could not be heard in the din.

Amid uproar, the House was adjourned for about 15 minutes.

As BSP members shouted that they did not want to listen to a reply from someone who was responsible for it, D Raja (CPI) tabled a notice for a discussion on the issue which could not be taken up.

The Upper House was adjourned for a brief period again after it reassembled.

In the Lok Sabha too, similar scenes were witnessed as Thirumaa Valavan Thol (VCK) trooped into the Well waving placards claiming insult to Ambedkar in a cartoon in an Class XI NCERT textbook. BSP members raised slogans demanding dismissal of Sibal.

Valavan said the NCERT's Class XI political science text book depicts Pandit Jawharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, whipping B R Ambedkar to expedite the work on the Constitution.

He demanded immediate withdrawal of the book and action against its publishers.

Holding Sibal responsible for the insult to Ambedkar, Valavan wanted the HRD Minister to resign.

Making a statement on the issue, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee agreed with the sentiments expressed by all the sections of the House.

He said without Ambedkar's tireless efforts, the framing of the Constitution would not have been possible within a short time of three years.

Mukherjee said the Indian Constitution was the lengthiest Constitution in the world prepared in the shortest time - November 1946 to November 1949.

He said the Constitution prepared by Ambedkar had kept democracy functioning in the country. This would not have been possible without Ambedkar's contribution.

Earlier, Bansal had also said that he would ask the HRD Minister to make a statement after collecting all facts on Ambedkar's cartoon.

Valavan first waved banners claiming insult to Ambedkar and later trooped in the Well displaying his I-Pad which showed the cartoon in question.

Later, he also got inside the House photocopies of the cartoon and was seen distributing it among members much to the chagrin of Speaker Meira Kumar who was making some observations.

The House was first adjourned till noon and then till 2 pm amid uproar.

Uproar over Aircel-Maxis Issue

The Lok Sabha also witnessed a row over Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement in the Aircel-Maxis deal when the House met for the day.

BJP members Yashwant Sinha, Shahnawaz Hussain and a few others were on their feet protesting Chidambaram reading out his son Karti's statement in the Lok Sabha yesterday.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj sought to know from Speaker Meira Kumar as to how a Minister could read out his son's statement on the pretext of giving a personal explanation to the House.

"Instead of making a personal explanation, he read out a statement on behalf of his son and also invoked Jesus Christ. Why did the Chair allow the statement," she asked.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said Chidambaram was well within his rights to make a personal statement as Sinha had levelled "irresponsible and reckless" allegations against the Home Minister and his son.

He said Sinha had levelled the allegations against Chidambaram without giving a notice to him as per Parliamentary practice.

"The statement was necessary and no rules were flouted," Bansal said, adding that the BJP member had sought to link two separate matters that had happened in June and October.

When the House reassembled, members of BSP, AIADMK, CPI and SP again stormed the Well, waving copies of the cartoon and shouting slogans.

The members, alleging that "great disrespect" had been shown to Ambedkar, wanted withdrawal of the text book and removal of Sibal from the HRD Ministry.

The House was adjourned till 2 pm soon after papers were laid and then again for the day.
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May 12, 2012
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