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Cartoon Row
NCERT ex-advisorís office ransacked
Shiv Kumar/TNS

Mumbai, May 12
Activists of the Republican Party of India (RPI) allegedly ransacked the office of Suhas Palshikar in Pune today. He had resigned yesterday as advisor of the NCERT over the publication of a cartoon of BR Ambedkar in school textbooks.

Prof Palshikar said he had invited some persons who said they were upset by the publication of the cartoon to his office on Pune University premises. However, they soon began to throw the furniture around, Palshikar said.

The professor later told reporters that he wasnít harmed in the attack. Later in the day, the Ramdas Athavale faction of the RPI claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, the party said the cartoon was an insult to the Dalits. Athavale had been among the leaders who were in the forefront of the protest against the use of the cartoon in school textbooks.

The police said they have detained three persons in connection with the incident.

Palshikar, a former Head of Pune University's Department of Politics, had resigned after the uproar in Parliament over the issue, on which HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had tendered an apology.

While resigning from his NCERT post, Palshikar had described the ruckus in both Houses over the cartoon row as "unfortunate". He added that "space for debate in democracy is shrinking".

Palshikar was a member of the HRD Ministry's Textbook Development Committee, which had approved the Class XI social science textbook that contained the cartoon. Political scientist Yogendra Yadav, who was the chief advisor of the committee, has also resigned.

Yadav today described as "tragic and sad" the attack on the office of Suhas Palshikar. Pointing out that Palshikar had, during the last 10 years, been a teacher to him on Ambedkar and taught him about Ambedkar, Yadav said "such attacks are nothing but farcical". (With PTI inputs)

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