Navneet Education will be recalling copies of a book titled It's Story Time after it received flak for a story titled 'The Unfaithful Dog', which allegedly promotes animal abuse and contains graphic descriptions and images.
'The Unfaithful Dog' is a story about a shepherd who realises his own dog has been killing the animals. It contains an image of a dog hanging from the tree, the description of an animal killed by the dog, and the 'punishment' meted out to him by his master.
Several social media users have been posting on the publishing house's Facebook page. "Is this the heartless, senseless rubbish you want our children to read? It’s downright horrific and appalling," wrote one user. "We are teaching children that it’s okay to hang living things if they don’t behave?" asked another. "Does Navneet not review stories before publishing them?" asked a third. "I am the mom of a young girl and a beautiful Indian stray dog... We have to take responsibility for their actions because we want to leave a better, happier world behind for our children," urged one mother.
In response to questions from Firstpost, Navneet Education has shared a statement from Director Shailendra Gala:
It has come to our notice that one of the stories in one of our books has content which is not appropriate for children. Navneet is a responsible publishing house and we do not support animal cruelty of any sort. We have published thousands of books and stories for more than 50 years, where empathy and caring are the central themes, and which attempt to inculcate a feeling of compassion among children. The story in question has unfortunately slipped through the cracks.
Animal welfare has been the focus, in fact, of our community efforts for decades. We have supported 500 animal shelters with 3,00,000 animals in Gujarat and Maharashtra where their health, nutrition and hygienic living conditions are taken care of.
Navneet deeply regrets publishing this story in question and is recalling all of its copies from the market immediately. In addition, we are ensuring that such content never slips through again.
—We are putting together a panel of respected academicians and counsellors to review our existing content and to frame better guidelines for what will be produced in the future.
—We are visiting leading schools to consult with principals and teachers to understand their content needs and to make the changes, as required.
—We are also working towards associating with animal care NGOs to create a series of animal care and empathy based books.
Navneet has also put out a post on its Facebook page with screenshots of emails to its distributor and sales team, asking for stocks of volumes one to four of It's Story Time to be recalled.
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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2019 20:11:46 IST