The Muslim and Christian organisations have severely opposed the LDF Government for allegedly trying to indoctrinate students with anti-religious ideas and inculcate communist values in them. The immediate cause of their ire are certain lessons in the Class VII social studies textbook introduced this year in the state syllabus. Representatives of 12 Muslim organisations met Education Minister M A Baby at Thiruvananthapuram on June 23 and demanded that the book be withdrawn.
Questions like “which religion is most affected by natural disasters, poverty and epidemics” have been singled out. In another part, it is explained that a uniform dress code among students will lead to communal problems. Religious groups see attempts to enforce atheist values on young minds through “lessons questioning the relevance of religion in society”.
The Catholic Church had on June 22 read out a circular in all churches protesting against these alleged attempts to wean away children from religion. A series of protest programmes are in the offing. The protesters are particularly incensed at a chapter titled “No Religion for Jeevan” that advises children not to enter their religion in the registers.
Youth Congress and Kerala Students Union activists demanding withdrawal of the textbook have had bloody clashes with the police. “The book glorifies communism and deals with subjects that will not benefit the students in any manner,” said KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala. According to him, the textbook tries to project isolated peasant uprisings led by the communists against local chieftains as part of freedom struggle while undermining national icons. “It focuses on their leaders and ignores former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Even Mahatma Gandhi is not portrayed in a befitting manner,” he said.