The publishers of a controversial class 4 textbook that visually depicted Prophet Muhammed have withdrawn the book from markets and issued an apology after the government intervened to douse anger amid concerns over national security implications.
The textbook, which triggered protests from Lucknow-based Muslim groups, will also be taken back from students who have already purchased the book, the human resource development ministry (HRD) said on Monday.
HT had on Monday reported concerns raised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon on the protests that erupted in Uttar Pradesh against the textbook.
Gerry Arathoon, the chief operating officer of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) — the Board which had allegedly recommended the textbook for students — has told the HRD ministry that it only recommends textbooks for classes 9-12.
But after the HRD ministry asked the CISCE for a status report based on news reports, the Board tracked down the publisher, who personally apologized to Muslim leaders and promised to withdraw the books, Arathoon said.
Idol worship is against the tenets of Islam and visual depictions of the Prophet — in the form of sketches, paintings and cartoons — have repeatedly triggered protests from Muslims, many of who see these as provocations.
The 2008 publication of cartoons of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper drew condemnation from Muslims globally.