The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has demanded the immediate withdrawal of a National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) textbook for Class 3 in which a photograph of Sikhism's first guru, Guru Nanak, has been placed alongside self-styled godman Asaram.
Asaram is an accused in a rape case and has been in a Jodhpur jail since September 2013.
"How can the photograph of someone who has been accused of rape and other crimes be put up alongside photographs of great saints? This is outrageous and unacceptable to the Sikh community," SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said in a statement on Monday.
Makkar has objected to the book 'Naya Ujala', prescribed in some of the schools in Rajasthan. On page 40 of the book, Asaram has been described as a saint who has done yeoman services for the betterment and purification of Hindu society and religion. Guru Nanak's photo is next to Asaram.
"Was the Rajasthan government sleeping when this particular book showing Asaram's photograph alongside Guru Nanak's was prescribed for schools in the state? The state government must launch an inquiry," Makkar said, adding that as an immediate step, the state government must confiscate all copies of the book.
"Was this (the placement of photographs) meant to please someone or to benefit a particular individual or individuals? Who allowed such a book to enter schools and pollute young minds," he said, clarifying that no individual could get his photograph printed or installed alongside the photograph of any of the Sikh gurus.
Meanwhile, book publisher Rakesh Agrawal has claimed that the edition in circulation and distribution was printed and brought out five years ago, when Asaram was not an accused. The latest edition of the book will not have Asaram's, he has claimed.