A part of the content in the Class V Tamil Nadu State Board Social Science textbook has invited the ire of certain Hindu organisations, prompting the police to mount vigil at sensitive locations.
Some Hindu organisations objected to a chapter titled ‘Good Citizen’ in the Class V first-term Social Science syllabus. In it, there is a section that reads, “In the name of faith and worship people violate rules and values.” “The breaking of white pumpkin on roads causing inconvenience to people, burning of old objects, submerging of idols in waterbodies and bursting of crackers causing pollution” are the examples of such violations, it says.
They said the content indirectly criticises religious festivals like Deepavali, Bhogi and Vinayaka Chaturthi.
Police sources said these organisations also felt that the visuals alongside another text on “Good conduct and moral science are nothing but civic values” had communal overtones. Apprehending protests, the State intelligence has sent out an alert to all cities and districts to enhance security arrangements to avert any untoward incident because schools have re-opened for Classes IX-XII.
Acting on intelligence inputs, DGP C. Sylendra Babu held a review meeting and directed all Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to mount vigil at vulnerable locations, the sources said.
The cyber crime police were told to take action on any post or forward on social media platforms that could incite communal hatred. Days ahead of Vinayaka Chaturthi, the police were told to intensify vigil in areas that witnessed communal violence in the past, the sources said.
A senior official in the School Education Department told The Hindu that there was nothing objectionable in the text. “It is a scientific fact that submerging idols [painted in artificial colours] in waterbodies, burning unwanted articles at public places and bursting crackers cause pollution. There have been several instances in which pumpkins smashed on roads led to accidents. The chapter educates children on the conservation of environment by creating awareness. Instead of giving a communal angle to the content, the critics should go into the merits of the subject,” he said.