Guwahati: Three authors and the publisher of an Assamese reference book for Class 12 students of Political Science in the state have been booked for a line on the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government during the 2002 communal riots following the Godhra train-burning, said reports on Monday. In the complaint, they are accused of “misguiding our upcoming students on our well-known Prime Minister,” reported The Indian Express. Also Read - President Kovind, PM Modi, Others Extend Greetings To Nation On Guru Nanak Jayanti
Published by the Guwahati-based Assam Book Depot, the guide book is written as per the syllabus prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which is being followed by the Assam Higher Secondary Educational Council (AHSEC) since 2011. (Also read: Godhra Violence Not an Act of Terrorism, Rules HC) Also Read - PM Modi To Inaugurate Widened NH Stretch, Attend Dev Deepawali in Varanasi Today
The publishing house is over 90-year-old; of the three authors, Durgakanta Sarma retired as head of department of Political Science from Arya Vidyapeeth College in Guwahati and died a few years ago; Rafiq Zaman retired as HoD of Political Science from Goalpara College; and Manash Pratim Baruah is the HoD of Political Science at DK College in Mirza. Also Read - India To Host SCO Heads of Government Summit Today; PM Modi, Imran Khan To Skip
An FIR has been registered under IPC Sections 153A (relating to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and race), 505 (related to publication which can incite any community) and 34 (relating to a criminal act done by several persons with a common intention).
The chapter that raised the hackles of Saumitra Goswami and Manab Jyoti Bora, the complainants, was first published in 2006, titled ‘Recent Issues and Challenges’, has a sub-section ‘Godhra Incident and Anti-Muslim Riot in Gujarat’. The paragraph translates thus: “In this incident (burning of coach) 57 persons died including women and children. On the suspicion that Muslims were behind the incident, next day Muslims were mercilessly attacked in different parts of Gujarat. This violence continued for over a month and over a thousand people were killed. Most of those killed were Muslims. Significantly, at the time of the violence, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government was a silent spectator. Moreover, there were allegations that the state administration helped the Hindus.”
The complaint said, “It’s well-known to you that Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of Supreme Court gave a clean sheet on PM Narendra Modi (sic) dated September 12, 2011, on this issue.”
The complainants added that the book “is misguiding our upcoming students on our well-known Prime Minister. Author along with publication (are) intentionally giving wrong communal information and dishonouring the SIT report made under the supervision of Supreme Court… By this, the authors (are) trying to draw an ill image of our beloved PM of the largest democracy by putting communal colour.”
Complainant Goswami told the daily, “Saying that the Gujarat government at that time was a ‘silent spectator’ is saying they supported the violence. But in 2011, a clean chit was given to our now PM. So why does the book not mention the clean chit? It’s misleading and should be banned or taken off the market… We have registered the complaint as concerned citizens. On coming to know about the said part in the book, we were shocked and compelled to go to police.”
Kaustav Guha, a partner at the Assam Book Depot, said the reference book was now in its 12th edition, published in March 2018, after being revised and updated since it was first released in 2006. The copyright rests with the authors. “We have no intention at all to hurt anyone’s sentiments. We are open to suggestions to make any changes so as to not hurt anyone,” Guha said.