Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Can’t delete Bhindranwale ‘terrorist’ reference from textbook: State to HC

The state government told Bombay high court on Wednesday it cannot assure deletion of a reference to Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a terrorist in class IX history textbooks. Bhindranwale had led the movement demanding Khalistan.
It was responding to a petition filed last year by advocate Amritpal Singh Khalsa to delete the reference and recall the textbook. His petition said Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbooks Production and Curriculum Research (Balbharati) had spread “vicious propaganda against the Sikh struggle movement’’ as against “Shaheed Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale was called terrorist with other shaheeds”.
Khalsa’s advocate, Mathews Nedumpara, argued that for many Sikhs, Bhindranwale was “a sant who stood for lives and died for a cause’’.
Nedumpara said, “Where textbooks are concerned, these kind of references serve no useful purpose. It is 38 years since Operation Bluestar and wounds still remain.’’ He adding that Sikhs face discrimination and alienation. He said the government must reconsider the issue and in the next academic year delete the reference or the chapter. He also said, “Let everything be retained, except the used of the word terrorist for Bhindranwale.’’ Senior advocate V A Thorat, representing the state and Balbharati, said, “By way of assurance, we cannot say the reference will be deleted.’’ He said it was “a long and arduous’’ process of preparing the textbook by 30 experts of history and it underwent unbiased scrutiny. “It is the second year of the textbook,’’ he said. He said Khalsa did not represent the Sikh faith and had “no locus standi to speak on their behalf”. The bench reserved its verdict.

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