Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the ongoing hue and cry over Odisha government’s booklet which termed Mahatma Gandhi’s death as an ‘accident’, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash today furnished a reply in Odisha Assembly and termed the error and misrepresentation of facts ‘unintentional.’

Dash further informed that show-cause notice has been served to two officials while the person engaged in publication of the booklet will be disengaged from service.

The two-page booklet ‘Aama Bapuji: Eka Jhalaka’ (Our Bapuji: A Glimpse) was published by the School and Mass Education Department on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The booklet presents a brief account of the Mahatma’s teachings, works and links with Odisha. As the booklet mentioned that Gandhiji “died due to accidental reasons in a sudden sequence of events on January 30, 1948 at Delhi’s Birla House”, it sparked widespread resentment in the State.

“There was no intention to spread any kind of misinformation and wrong data concerning Gandhi’s death. Already, the state government has withdrawn the booklet and show-cause notice has been served to two officials,” said Dash in his reply.

Dash said that the booklet will be reprinted with necessary corrections and distributed within a month.

Expressing concern over the misleading fact on the Father of the Nation, leaders cutting across party-lines raised the issue during the question hour and zero hour in Odisha Assembly on Friday.

Targeting Odisha government’s motive behind the ‘misleading’ information, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra had earlier demanded an apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Later, Speaker S N Patro asked the School and Mass Education Minister to give a statement in the House today.

"Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik is answerable to the House as he heads the committee which was constituted for 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.