Raising the issue in the assembly, AIMIM MP Ahmed bin Abdullah Balala urged the government not only to immediately remove objectionable content, but also to take action against private publishers – VGS Publishers – for injuring feelings.
âWhoever posted the content did so to insult a religion. We have already brought this matter to the attention of the Minister of Education, âBalala said in a zero hour speech on Monday. He said: “I ask the state to ensure that content published for students, by private publishers, is properly vetted afterwards …”
The controversial photograph can be found in the Social Studies Question Bank. It appears on page 291 of the chapter “National movement-The last phase 1919-1947”.
While TRS Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy assured Balala that the state would take up the matter and ensure that the content was removed, representatives of political parties wondered how such stereotypical material was. allowed in the manuals. âIt is discriminatory and hateful content like this that destroys the harmony, unity and integrity of society. Peace must be infused into the minds of students through peace education, the peace studies program, âsaid Talha Faiyazuddin, President of SIO Telangana. He reiterated that the Minister of Education should not approve such content.
Experts stressed the need to protect children from such prejudices.
âA religion does not preach violence. If the question bank wanted to show what a terrorist looks like, a weapon in hand would have been sufficient. It was not necessary to show religious scriptures in the photo, âsaid Shahab Mohd Altaf, chairman of the Studies Council, Department of Islamic Studies, Osmania University.
In a statement released later today, the Director of School Education (DSE) A Sridevasena confirmed that action will be taken against the publisher. She, however, maintained that no such objectionable photograph is used in government-mandated textbooks.
“It is clarified that none of these objectionable photographs are included in the social studies textbooks prescribed by the government in the lesson relating to the 11 (B) National Movement – The last phase 1919-1947”, one reads in the press release from DSE.
“The objectionable photograph was used in the question bank prepared and published by VGS Brilliant Series Publication, a private publication …”
The VGS editors apologize:
In apology, VGS Publishers said: We have learned that few people have been harmed by the image in our Class 8 book. We express our sincere regret. It was not at all intentional. We don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, we have decided to remove the image and reprint the books. We are also in the process of recovering unsold copies.