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Asked to Undo Controversial Textbook Changes by BJP, Siddaramaiah Says Will Take Action

New Delhi: Responding to calls that his government should undo changes to school textbooks made by the previous BJP government which were seen as politically motivated, new Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has said on Monday that the Congress government will ensure children’s education is unaffected.

Close to 30 academic and writers submitted a memorandum to Siddaramaiah stating that numerous actions were needed to ensure proper school education in the state – including reversing the controversial hijab ban and undoing certain revisions to school textbooks. “The anti-constitutional, communal textbooks should be amended immediately and the bad effect on the minds of children should be prevented. The textbook should be revised by next year,” the memorandum stated.

“There is no question of compromise in the protection of harmony and secular heritage of Karnataka. Politics of hatred will be removed and the climate of fear will be eradicated,” Siddaramaiah said, according to Hindustan Times.

“The act of polluting children’s minds through texts and lessons cannot be accepted. As the academic year has started, we will discuss and take action so that the education of the children is not disturbed,” he continued.

A revision committee headed by Rohith Chakrathirtha, which was constituted in 2020 after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in Karnataka, to examine social science and language textbooks, had last year revised social science textbooks from Classes 6 to 10 and Kannada language textbooks from Classes 1 to 10.

Chapters on revolutionary and freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan, Lingayat social reformer Basavanna, Dravidian movement pioneer Periyar and reformer Narayana Guru had been removed from the syllabus or severely curtailed with. Facts on Kannada poet Kuvempu were also allegedly distorted. A speech by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar made its way to the Class 10 revised Kannada textbook.

These moves had been severely criticised by educationists in the state.

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