'Gandhiji's Death An Accident': Odisha Govt's Controversial Booklet Teaches School Children
An official booklet on father of the Nation in Odisha has proclaimed, “Gandhiji died because of an accidental sequence of events”, leaving the Naveen Patnaik government red-faced.
Odisha government’s Department of School and Mass Education had published the two-page booklet, on Mahatma Gandhi’s life and distributed it at all schools to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary. The shocking claim comes in the last paragraph that says: “On January 30, 1948, Gandhiji died at Birla House in New Delhi because of an accidental sequence of events.”
The Congress party that sits in opposition in the state questioned the ruling Biju Janata Dal in the Assembly, over its ‘attempt’ to glorify Mahatma Gandhi’s murderer, Nathuram Godse, on Friday. They demanded CM Patnaik to apologise for the booklet publicly.
Even BJD members expressed concern over the booklet, titled: “Aama Bapuji: Eka Jhalaka” (Our Bapuji: A Glimpse). However, BJP legislators, also in the opposition, remained quiet, not joining the argument in the Assembly.
“No one can alter the truth about how Gandhiji was killed. With this act (of publishing the booklet), the poison has been distributed among schoolchildren,” MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was reported saying by The Telegraph.
School and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash, who was pulled up by the chief minister’s office, said: “We have launched a probe. Whoever has done it would be taken to task. Instead of saying that it was an accident, it should have been clearly mentioned the way he was killed. It should have been elaborated how he was killed. We will withdraw the booklet. I will issue a statement in the House on Saturday,” reported Hindustan Times.
The booklet has left Gandhi’s followers and social activists in Odisha sad and angry. “All the booklets carrying this utterly misleading information should be recalled from the schools and destroyed immediately. Freshly printed booklets with accurate information about Gandhi’s assassination by Godse should be distributed among students,” said Prafulla Samantara, a prominent social activist and convener of Lok Shakti Abhiyan.