People from all walks of life, including students, from across the state held demonstrations on Sunday and set ablaze several copies of the sample test papers for class VII students where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose has been described as a “fake nationalist”.
The All India Students’ Federation (AISF), Democratic Students’ Organisation (DSO), Cuttack Citizens’ Forum (CCF) and students from various educational institutions took part in the protests demanding stringent measures against the publishers of the sample test papers.
In the literature test paper of Malhotra Book Depot (MBD), Netaji has been described as a “bhanda jatiyatabadi neta” (fake nationalist) in an answer to a question on his contributions to the Indian freedom struggle.
The sample test paper is one of the oldest published and among the most popular reference for school students in Orissa to prepare for the final examinations.
The publisher has, however, sought an apology for the mistake and has informed the school and mass education department of the state that it would immediately withdraw all copies of the book from the market. “The mistake has been described as a typing error and has been stated as unintentional,” said an official.
The AISF held demonstrations at Bhubaneswar and burnt several copies of the test paper. It demanded stringent legal action and arrest of the publisher for causing disrespect to a great leader. “The mistake is unpardonable. The publisher needs to be punished heavily and without delay all copies of the test paper should be withdrawn from the market and set on fire,” Pradip Mohanty, an AISF member, demanded.
An FIR was lodged against MBD publishers by one Gayadhar Dhal of Kendrapara district.