Even though the Punjab government on Thursday said that it was willing to apologise and rectify if wrong words were used in new PSEB history textbooks, a joint delegation of Akali Dal and BJP will meet Punjab Governor on Friday and seek his intervention to ensure no change is made.
The opposition parties have alleged that the new books contain irregularities regarding dates, references to historical figures and incorrect usage of words while referring to several aspects of Sikhism. However, the Punjab government has dismissed these allegations.
Three state cabinet ministers – finance minister Manpreet Badal, education minister O P Soni and jail minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa also accused private book publishers of being involved in “triggering” the controversy fearing loss of business.
“If a wrong word has been used in the book (class 12), then it is a big mistake, we seek an apology for it and we will rectify the same,” said Randhawa replying to reporters’ queries on Thursday evening.
Badal, on the other hand, said that if there are mistakes in the use of vocabulary, the Punjab government is ready to change them. The three cabinet ministers were fielded by the state government to take on opposition SAD and AAP who have launched a relentless attack on the Congress government, accusing it of deleting the chapters of Sikh Gurus from the class 12 history book.
“Opposition parties are levelling wrong allegations. They just want to gain political advantage out of this issue,” alleged Soni.
The education minister said that the book is being published by PSEB for the first time and will be available at a cheaper price. “We have decided that class 11 and class 12 books will be given to students at lower rates and we will completely ban the books published by private publishers,” he said.
Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of the core committee of the SAD was held on Thursday in which it was decided that the matter is too vital for the future of the Sikh community to be treated merely as an issue of political difference of perception.
“This is a fight for the preservation of the proud Sikh history and heritage for the coming generations as it affects the future of our community. The entire country
and indeed the whole mankind looks at Sikh history as a source of immense moral, psychological and spiritual inspiration for the present and the future generations. The SAD will make every sacrifice needed in order to protect history and legacy of the Sikh quom (community),” said a resolution passed an emergency meeting of the Core Committee.
Addressing media, party president Sukhbir Badal hit out at Amarinder Singh and said that he does not realise the enormity of the damage being done to Sikh history by the decision of the government to delete it from the prestigious Board class of 12 in PSEB.
The controversy over PSEB class 12 textbook had erupted with opposition parties including Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) charging the state government with deleting the history of Sikh Gurus.