Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab on Saturday claimed that chapters on Sikh Gurus have been "expunged" from Class 12 history books of the state education board, but Chief Minister Amarinder Singh dismissed as "malicious" the opposition party's allegation.
SAD spokesman and former education minister Daljit Singh Cheema demanded a high-level probe and stern action against the alleged development in the Punjab School Education Board's Class 12 history books.
"It is shocking that the state's own school board has expunged the history makers of Punjab from the history books of Punjab," said Cheema in a statement.
There were 23 chapters carrying information about Sikh Gurus, Sikh warriors and historical facts about Punjab in the Class 12 history book, the SAD leader said, claiming the content has been replaced with a half-page description about the glorious period of the Sikh history.
Lambasting SAD leaders for trying to spread "misinformation" on a sensitive religious issue, Chief Minister Singh said the Opposition party had shown "gross irresponsibility" by making a "baseless" public statement without bothering to check the facts.
The fact was that the courses had merely been realigned with the NCERT syllabus to enable the students from Punjab to compete at the national level, he said, making it clear that "not a single chapter, nor a word, had been deleted by the Board".
The history chapters had been now spread across Classes 11 and 12, on the recommendation of an Expert Committee, of which a SGPC representative was also a member, he added.
As per the Committee's recommendations, the Board had earlier restructured the Physics and Chemistry courses, and had now realigned the History books to make the course more relevant, in line with the NCERT syllabus.
Since the Committee had felt that the students should be exposed to Sikh history from Class 11 itself, the chapters on Punjab and Sikh history had been shifted to Class 11, while India and Modern History as well as Modern Sikh History had been moved to the Class 12 syllabus, the chief minister said.
Far from removing any chapter on the Sikh Gurus, the Board, under his directives, had in fact incorporated chapters on the lives of the four Sahibzadas in the school text books to ensure that the youngsters also learn of their sacrifices, along with the history of the Sikh Gurus, he said.
Urging the Akalis to refrain from indulging in cheap politics over an issue related to the religious sentiments of the people of Punjab, he said it was extremely unfortunate that SAD, which claims to be a guardian of the Sikh religious ethos, was repeatedly resorting to abusing religion to further their political interests.