Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Assembly was adjourned for the day on Wednesday following uproar over a post-graduate college geography textbook describing Gond tribal group as cow-slayers and beef-eaters.
Importantly, according to the 2011 census, the Gonds are the second largest tribe in the state with a headcount of over 43.57 lakh.
The issue was raised by the leader of opposition in the assembly and Congress leader Ajay Singh during the zero hour. He said that the geography textbook mentioned the meaning of the Gond as someone who kills cow and consumes beef. He added that it was highly objectionable and amounted to an insult to the Gond tribals. Singh demanded a statement from chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the issue.
Intervening, BJP MLA from Mhow (Indore) Kailash Vijayvargiya while accepting that the issue was serious, urged the LoP to raise the issue under the rule of the house, while panchayat and rural development minister Gopal Bhargava raised a point or order by saying that Singh should have tabled the book in the assembly first before discussing the issue.
However, two other senior Congress MLAs, including Dr Govind Singh and Ram Niwas Rawat contended that there wasn't any need for following any rule or procedure while raising an issue of public interest in the zero hour. Some more Congress legislators created a ruckus over the issue and even trooped into the well of house.
With the opposition Congress legislators not heeding to speaker Dr Sitasaran Sharma's call to get back to their seats, the speaker adjourned the house for ten minutes.The Congress MLAs demanded a statement by the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the issue, even as school education minister Kunwar Vijay Shah (who hails from the same tribe) assured that the issue would be investigated
Later when the house reassembled, parliamentary affairs minister Narottam Mishra said the government wanted to make a statement over the issue, but the opposition party members continued to demand statement from the CM over the issue and again trooped into the well of house.
The speaker, meanwhile, observed that no statement was to be made the zero hour and the opposition members could raise the issue during the discussion on the budgetary demands later in the day.
But the opposition members continued with demands for statement by the CM over the issue, even as the assembly speaker allowed completion of almost entire remaining business on the agenda on Wednesday.
With the impasse not breaking, the speaker had to adjourn the house for the day.
Following the uproar over the issue forcing adjournment of the house for the day, the MP higher education minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya later announced that the concerned geography book and its author have been blacklisted.
"The book has been published by a private publication and was purchased for the library of Mahakoshal College in Jabalpur. Show cause notice will be issued to the college principal and other officials responsible for purchasing the book for the college library and the book will be removed from the library," Pawaiya told journalists later.
The leader of opposition Ajay Singh continued before the media persons with his demand for the CM making a statement in the house over the issue. He also sought penal action against the book's author Harish Kumar Khatri, publisher Kailash Pustak Sadan, Bhopal and concerned officials under provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.