Union Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar on Saturday said that the controversy around the removal of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution from the textbook of Class 10 published by the National Council for Educational Research and Training was part of a propaganda, reported ANI.

The NCERT had last year announced that chapter “Heredity and Evolution” will be replaced with “Heredity” in the Class 10 science textbook.

On April 20, over 1,800 scientists, teachers, educators and science popularisers across the country wrote an open letter to NCERT regarding the removal, reported The Print.

They said that the scientific community feels that students will remain “seriously handicapped” in their thought processes “if deprived of exposure to this fundamental discovery of science”.

“An understanding of the process of evolution is crucial in building a scientific temper and a rational worldview,” they said in the letter. “The way Darwin’s painstaking observations and his keen insights led him to the theory of natural selection, educates students about the process of science and the importance of critical thinking.”

On Saturday, Sarkar said that the removal was a part of the NCERT’s rationalisation exercise to reduce the syllabus for students after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If a child wants to study, Darwin’s Theory is available on all websites,” Sarkar said according to ANI. “In class 12, there is already Darwin’s Theory in the syllabus so there should not be such false propaganda.”

In 2018, BJP leader and former Union minister Satyapal Singh had said that Darwin’s theory of man’s evolution is “scientifically wrong” and that it should be changed.

“Since the man is seen on earth he has always been a man,” he had said. “Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man. No books we have read or the tales told to us by our grandparents had such a mention.”