Lashing out at the Akalis over the disinformation campaign unleashed by them on the issue of school history books, Punjab School Education Minister OP Soni has demanded the resignation of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal in the wake of the Chief Minister’s detailed rebuttal to his baseless allegations.Captain Amarinder Singh had not only taken on Sukhbir’s challenge but had gone a step ahead to expose the lies he had been branding about for the last couple of days, said Soni, adding that the detailed mapping of the syllabus of Classes IX and XII released by the Chief Minister clearly showed that there was no deletion or dilution of the history of the Sikh Gurus in the school syllabus.The Minister expressed shock at the brazen attempt of the Akalis to politicise a sensitive issue like religion, saying the Badals had once again proved that they could stoop to any lows to promote their vested personal interests.Soni further ridiculed the Akalis for seeking to take a high moral ground about school text books after allowing such books to be used to promote vulgarity during their own regime. He recalled the 2013 controversy surrounding school books by private suppliers, said to have been hand-picked by then Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka. Those books had to be withdrawn after they were found not only to be full of errors but to be making vulgar and sexist remarks about women, he pointed out.
Given the fact that those books had been approved by a panel of five officials of the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime, the Akalis were the last people who could be said to be qualified to judge the quality or standards of any school books, said Soni.The incident, said Soni, had also exposed the total lack of quality control on text books by private publishers, who had been entrusted with the task of printing of all History books, and were selling these books at exorbitant costs.The Captain Amarinder government had, for the first time, handed over the task of printing the History books to the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB), which was earlier not involved in the process, the Education Minister pointed out, adding that this reflected the government’s commitment to ensuring that there is no mutilation of Sikh history or culture. The authenticity of the content will now be ensured with this move, he added.AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira also came in for criticism by Soni, who pointed out that as the Congress spokesperson, Khaira had in 2013 been among the most vocal and vociferous politicians to attack the Akalis in the wake of the textbook controversy.