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Kerala Assembly Speaker stands up to BJP over charges of hurting Hindu sentiments

While interacting with students at a school on July 21, Shamseer had questioned the motive behind promoting myths as scientific facts, misleading an entire generation and generations to come

Santosh Kumar And K.M. Rakesh Published 03.08.23, 08:16 AM
Shamseer

Shamseer The Telegraph

Kerala Assembly Speaker A.N. Shamseer, who is accused by the Sangh parivar and a caste-based organisation of hurting Hindu sentiments, on Wednesday took what is being seen as a bold stand and stuck to his ground, saying it was never his intention to denigrate any faith.

Shamseer’s party, the CPM, backed him with state secretary M.V. Govindan asserting that there was no need for the Speaker to apologise for pointing out certain grave mistakes in the Centre’s New Education Policy.

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“How can science be against religion? It is unfortunate that such discussions are taking place in a state like Kerala.... The remark is not intended to offend any religious person,” Shamseer told reporters on Wednesday.

The Sangh parivar and the Nair Service Society (NSS) have been demanding an apology from Shamseer over comments on the Hindu deity, Lord Ganesha. The NSS observed Wednesday as “Faith Protection Day”.

While interacting with students at a school in Ernakulam on July 21, Shamseer had questioned the motive behind promoting myths as scientific facts, misleading an entire generation and generations to come.

“Who invented aeroplanes? The answer during my time would be the Wright brothers. But now it is not the Wright brothers. That’s wrong. Aeroplane was invented during the Hindutva period (apparently referring to the Puranas) and Pushpaka Vimanam is the world’s first airplane,” he had said in Malayalam.

“Myths, instead of science, are being included in textbooks,” Shamseer had said.

“Plastic surgery is a recent finding in medical science. But what is being attempted is to teach that plastic surgery existed during the Hindutva period…. Ganapathy (Lord Ganesha) with a human body and the head of an elephant,” the Speaker had added.

It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had made such a claim in 2014. A section of the scientific community had then questioned the claim.

When Shamseer dared to question the intentions of the Sangh parivar, the BJP’s Yuva Morcha came out with oblique threats to him and a CPM leader retorted with an equally intemperate remark. The state CPM leadership had distanced itself from that leader’s remark.

State CPM chief Govindan told reporters: “The CPM is not against any religion. We are not against the Faith Protection Day observed by the NSS either.... We believe this is a pure attempt at saffronisation and mere politicisation of the issue.”

The main Opposition Congress, which kept quiet all this while, opened up on Wednesday with leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan saying “both the Sangh parivar and the CPM are creating divisions in society”.

He felt there was no need to associate science with faith. Scientific facts often do not match religious beliefs, Satheesan said, playing it safe. He also made it a point to praise the NSS for not surrendering to any religious organisation.

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