Muslim students burn school textbook copies in Kerala

June 24th, 2008 - 11:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Malappuram (Kerala), June 24 (IANS) The weeklong protests over the Class 7 social studies textbook in Kerala turned ugly Tuesday as activists of a Muslim students group set fire to thousands of school textbooks at Malappuram, demanding the book be withdrawn. Members of the Muslim Students’ Federation (MSF), the student wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), seized the textbooks that had been brought in a truck to the office of Deputy Director of Education (DDE) here, threw them on the road and set them on fire.

The contents of the Class 7 social studies textbook are being objected to by opposition parties and religious groups. They allege the book contains very little about leaders of India’s freedom movement and instead tries to indoctrinate children with the communist ideology.

The state has been witnessing agitations by opposition parties against the book for the last two weeks.

“Of 24,000 textbooks brought for distribution, around 8,000 books were damaged. The consignment included books for Class 1 to 7,” K.C. Gopi, the DDE, told IANS.

Meanwhile, Education Minister M.A. Baby told the state assembly in Thiruvananthapuram Tuesday that the government was prepared to hold discussions with the opposition over the textbook issue. However, he said the government is not ready to withdraw the book. The government is ready to constitute an experts committee to examine the complaints regarding the book.

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