Amid the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Monday declaring to launch “a massive struggle” to force the Congress and its government in Punjab to “apologise to the Khalsa Panth for deliberate and persistent insults of the great Guru Sahibaan in 10+2 history books of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB),” Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the board to continue with the existing books, pending a review by experts.
The SAD took the decision in the core committee meeting, chaired by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal and was attended among others by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, at the party headquarters here this afternoon.
Amarinder’s statement, issued from Turkey, where the CM is holidaying, said a directive has been issued in view of the need for clarity on the syllabus for the students as they are almost in the middle of their academic year.
The expert group of historians was constituted by the state government in May, following concerns raised in certain quarters regarding alleged errors and discrepancies. The group, chaired by Prof. Kirpal Singh, includes Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon and Dr Inderjeet Singh Gogoani, both representatives of SGPC.
According to an official spokesperson, the Chief Minister had asked the education minister to ensure a comprehensive review, taking into consideration all the complaints and suggestions received earlier.
Sukhbir earlier in the day told newsmen that the party leaders would perform an ardas (prayer) at Akal Takht on November 1, before launching the struggle “to bring the CM and the Congress government in Punjab down on its knees for its brazen assault on the sacred image of the great Sikh Guru Sahiban, especially Guru Arjan Dev ji, Guru Hargoibind ji, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib and the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh ji.”
The details of the struggle, he said, would be announced in Amritsar after the ardas.
The SAD president demanded that the Chief Minister and Punjab government must “immediately apologise to the Khalsa Panth and humanity at large for their sin…”, besides registration of criminal cases against those associated with “preparation of such outrageous sacrilegious material”. He also demanded that they be “dismissed from their respective positions…” “The new books containing these humiliating portions must be banned and with withdrawn immediately and be replaced with the old books which had been in use for decades,” said Sukhbir.
SAD pointed out the new history books claim that “the fifth guru of Sikhs, Shri Guru Arjan Dev ji, was not killed by the Mughals, but was merely fined”. “The book also says that the guru patronised “criminal elements”. On the sixth Guru, Hargobind Rai Sahib, the history book says that the Mughals’ differences with him were not because of any ideological or religious reasons, but because he kept hunting dogs. The books also claim that the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh ji Maharaj, “deserted the battle of Chamkaur Sahib without informing anyone”. These are shocking claims about the history. What are they trying to teach our children and the whole world by changing the facts,” SAD asked.