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Maharashtra state body responds in plea against Class 9 textbook

The petition argues that the textbooks depict the ‘Sikh movement’ in a manner that could “infect the minds of students and spread ill-will towards Sikhs.”

mumbai Updated: Dec 26, 2017 00:53 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
mumbai,maharashtra,textbook
Sunil Magar, director of the textbooks bureau, denied the accusations, maintaining that meticulous planning and preparations precede the printing and publication of any textbook.(HT file photo)

The Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Publication and Curriculum Research on Monday responded to a petition demanding changes to a Class 9 history and political science textbook.

The petition, filed by Ulhasnagar resident Amritpal Singh Khalsa, argues that the textbooks depict the ‘Sikh movement’ in a manner that could “infect the minds of students and spread ill-will towards Sikhs” and has urged the court to direct the Bureau to withdraw the textbooks.

In his petition, filed before the Bombay high court, Khalsa referred to a chapter on Operation Blue Star that describes Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and others involved in the Sikh struggle as terrorists, and argues that the comments are defamatory and made without any research, as there is no police record naming Bhindranwale in an FIR.

Sunil Magar, director of the textbooks bureau, denied the accusations, maintaining that meticulous planning and preparations precede the printing and publication of any textbook. His affidavit states that the history and political science book was written by Ganesh Raut, head of the history department of HV Desai College, Pune. It adds that the draft prepared by Raut was scrutinised by 30 experts in the subject. The affidavit states that the draft was also reviewed by two quality reviewers.

Magar’s affidavit states that the author referred to several articles published in newspapers, periodicals and websites, a white paper published by the Government of India on the Punjab agitation, former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s address to the nation on June 2, 1984, annual reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs and books published by senior Army and IPS officers involved in Operation Blue Star.

He has also indicated that it was impossible to recall the books as 22.45 lakh copies of the book have been published in eight languages and distributed for use by 19.44 lakh students across Maharashtra. The case is likely to be heard next month.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 00:31 IST