CHANDIGARH: Three authors have been booked for distorting historical facts related to Guru Sahiban in the books which were taught to the students of 12th class in the schools of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).
On the complaint of Sikh and farmer activist Baldev Singh Sirsa, who is spearheading agitation against this distortion for over three months, Punjab state crime wing registered an FIR against three writers at Mohali Police station under sections 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153A (indulging in wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.
The books in question are ‘Modern ABC of History of Punjab’, written by Manjit Singh Sodhi and published by Modern Publisher, Jalandhar, ‘History of Punjab’ by Mahinderpal Kaur of Malhotra Book depot, Jalandhar, and ‘History of Punjab’ by MS Mann of Raj Publishers, Jalandhar. The trio have been nominated in the FIR. Some unknown persons are also among the accused.
Welcoming the move, Sirsa said, “This is good action but it is not enough. Rest of the culprits including publishers must also be booked. These books are being published since 1993. Despite these books being banned in 2017, these are being published. So, we are adamant to intensify our agitation and close the gates of the PSEB office on May 16”.
Under pressure of ‘Itihas Bachao-Sikhi Bachao’ morcha being led by Sirsa, the State government banned these books few days ago on the basis of an inquiry report submitted by the board in March.
The state education department while principally accepting the contents of the report, had given directions that the three books be banned for sale and not be taught in schools in the present form. The inquiry was initiated on the complaint tendered by Sirsa, who alleged that the said books contain some remarks which are not in accordance with Sikh history.
PSEB had submitted its report regarding distortions in the textbook “History of Punjab’ for Class 12 book, in March. Inder Pal Singh Malhotra, former officer on special duty (OSD) to director general education, Punjab, conducted the inquiry.
“The orders of the state government have been conveyed to SCERT director and all district education officers for compliance with immediate effect,” the PSEB chairman said in a statement.
Based on the findings of the inquiry reports, various follow-up actions have been ordered by the state government to fix responsibility of various officers/officials who were at the helm of affairs when these books were allowed to be notified by the board.
The inquiry was ordered after several organizations and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) raised the issue of distortion of facts in the history book, following which former Punjab education minister Pargat Singh ordered the probe.