The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition, which had claimed that a History and Political Science textbook of Class IX refers to a chapter
on Operation Blue Star describing Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and others involved in the Sikh struggle as “terrorists”.
The petitioner Amritpal Singh Khalsa, a lawyer by profession, in his petition had stated that he came across a post on Facebook, which said that the textbook published by the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Publication and Curriculum Research, Pune, contains text which were spreading “vicious propaganda against Sikh struggle movement” calling Bhindranwale a “terrorist”.
A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati H Dangre, held, “…we do not see any insulting or irreverential reference therein to anybody much less Shri Bhindranwale. The contents of the chapter do not term him as a terrorist.”
The bench added, “If the chapter is read as a whole and harmoniously, the alleged offending portion is perused in its entirety, then, we do not find anything therein which would hurt the religious sentiments of the Sikh community.”
Advocate Mathew Nedumpara for petitioner argued there has been no historic or police record stating Bhindranwale as a terrorist. He added that this part of the lesson is of “no use and purpose” and only spreads “disharmony” and “discriminates” the minority.
Senior counsel V A Thorat, for Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Publication and Curriculum Research, argued that the textbooks are curated and revised by an expert panel and has undergone revision twice before. He further said that it is a matter of perception, but the contents in the textbook are based on sources by historians. The content is unbiased and is scrutinized, he added.