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Tripura school book drops Mahatma Gandhi, Congress plans fast

Tuesday May 24, 2011 07:10:48 PM, IANS

Agartala: Leaders of the opposition Congress would launch a hunger strike Wednesday protesting the replacement Mahatma Gandhi's name with Communist icon Vladimir Lenin in a Class 5 textbook in the Left-ruled Tripura, a party leader said.

The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) which prepared the book has denied the Congress claim.

Congress workers led by leader of the Congress legislature party Ratan Lal Nath would start the hunger strike in the morning close to Mahatma Gandhi's statue near Raj Bhavan here.

"Despite protests from all quarters, the Left Front government in Tripura has been trying to give a communist twist to the educational system," Nath told reporters Tuesday.

"They are trying to distort the Indian history and life and work of leading personalities, including Gandhiji," he said.

"In a textbook for Class 5 in the current academic session the names of Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx were retained and Lenin's name inserted in place of Mahatma Gandhi," said Nath, pointing to a book in his hand.

Senior SCERT official Dilip Kumar Debbarma denied the allegation and said: "We did not erase the name of Mahatma Gandhi. His name and life sketch were detailed in a separate chapter of the same book. Mahatma's biography was given with more elaboration in the book compared to previous years."

Nath threatened to initiate a bigger movement if the government did not rectify the "mistake".

He also alleged that the contents of the textbooks of different classes had "huge distortion" of facts relating to India for "brainwashing school students in line with Marxism."

Nath wrote a letter to Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on the issue last month.

"The chief minister has asked Chief Secretary S.K. Panda to inquire into the matter and submit a report," the Congress leader said.




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