DHAKA: Bangladesh high court has ordered police to sue 17 professors for allegedly distorting the country’s liberation war history and maligning its founding leader in a school textbook, lawyers said Wednesday.
In a deepening row over who called Bangladeshi people to launch armed resistance against Pakistan in 1971, the court also summoned 30 other professors who wrote or edited the textbook, a top state prosecutor said.
“It ruled on Tuesday that the book distorted liberation war history as it dropped the name of father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the proclaimer of independence,” additional attorney general M.K. Rahman told AFP.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is fondly known as Bangabandhu (friend of Bengal) was Bangladesh’s first president and led the the country to independence from Pakistan after a bloody nine-month war in 1971.
“The textbook wrongly said Major Ziaur Rahman was the proclaimer of our independence. It also dropped Bangabandhu from Sheikh Mujibur’s name,” he said.
Bangladesh’s independence remains a bitter political issue as Ziaur Rahman’s widow is now leader of the opposition, while Sheikh Mujibur’s eldest daughter is the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
An angry, decades-long debate about who actually called for the armed resistance still divides national politics in Bangladesh.
The book on civics was originally written in 2000 with “correct information, but an edited version made the distortion in 2009” when Hasina stormed back to power, said lawyer Belal Hossain, who represented the petitioners.
The court in January ordered seizure of millions of copies of the textbook in the same dispute.