Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI(ML) has called upon democratic and secular individuals and organisations in the State to be vigilant against fundamentalist forces hijacking the education sector under the garb of the agitation for scrapping the Class 7 textbook.

In a statement, P.J. James, State secretary of the party, wanted the progressive section of people to resist the campaign unleashed by religious fundamentalists and other organisations in the name of the textbook. He said that the article ‘Religion-less Jeevan’ was itself a compromise. Instead of guiding children towards a secular humanism and rationalism, the article offers Jeevan the option of choosing a religion of his choice when he becomes an adult. This, according to Mr. James, was a retrograde one when compared to Sahodaran Ayyappan’s ‘No caste, no religion, no God’ creed.

He pointed out that unlike in other States, Kerala has a democratic, secular and progressive public space which was created by the movements led by Narayana Guru and Ayyankali and by the interventions made by Communists. This space was being encroached upon by fundamentalist religious forces. The campaign against the textbook was to hijacking this public space, Mr. James cautioned.

Joseph Pulikkunnel, a Christian theologian, said he could not find ‘a single word’ against religion in the controversial textbook. Moreover, the lesson would act as a tool in creating a news society, he said. He pointed out that it was the Congress leaders of the past who had formulated principles that promoted secularism and protection of the minorities and now the same party was supporting the church’s campaign.

He warned the Congress against supporting forces that torpedoed secularism. The National Youth League’s (NYL) State committee said the allegations raised by certain religious organisations and the Opposition United Democratic Front were ‘totally baseless.’