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India parliament overreacts to cartoon
K. Shankar Pillai cartoon depicting Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the head of a panel drafting the Constitution, on a snail has caused a ruckus of major proportions in India. The Parliament, which deemed the cartoon an insult to the constitution and the Parliament and has ordered it removed from all books – including textbooks that have already been distributed to schools.
The fall out, apart from holding Parliament hostage from real work, has been that the chief advisors of all political science textbooks at NCERT have quit. Members of Mr. Athawale’s party ransacked the office of one of the advisors. That, he said, was an expression of “indignation on the part of the Dalit community.” Ambedkar was a Dalit, a group that historically falls at the bottom of India’s caste system, and is a popular icon in that community.
Megha Bahree, who wrote the above cited article notes that in the last week that the Indian Parliament has been focusing on the cartoon, several legislative matters have been put on hold including bills to: protect children from sexual offenses, women from sexual harassment at work, whistle blowers protection and a bill to prevent bribery of foreign public officials.