Seize books with distorted history
The High Court yesterday directed the inspector general of police to seize within 15 days copies of a school textbook that says Ziaur Rahman had declared the country's independence.
The books have to be seized from markets, institutions, libraries, students and individuals within the date, said the court.
Responding to a writ petition filed yesterday by a freedom fighter, Anamul Haque, the court also asked the IGP to immediately stop publication of the textbook titled "Nimno Madhyamik Bangla Byakaron O Rochona (Junior School Certificate Bangla Grammar and Essay)".
In the petition, Anamul said the history of the country's independence had been distorted in the textbook.
Pragati Press and Publications published the book in 2010. Petitioner's counsel Belal Hossain Joy said the publication had been recommended by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) for class VII and VIII students and was being taught at almost all schools, colleges and madrasas across the country.
In a page, the book reads that patriot Maj Gen Ziaur Rahman proclaimed the country's independence from Chittagong Betar Kendra on March 26, 1971.
In another page, it says Maj Zia declared the independence on behalf of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 27 of that year from Kalurghat Betar Kendra (radio centre) in Chittagong.
The HC in the ruling summoned Ratan Siddique, writer of the book, and four others to appear before it on February 2 to explain why they had named Ziaur Rahman as the proclaimer of independence.
The four others are the NCTB chairman, publisher of the book Tofazzal Hossain, and co-editors Shahid Uddin Ahmed and Mohammad Abdul Jalil.
The HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Jahangir Hossain Salim also issued a rule upon the government to explain in three weeks why the writer, the NCTB chairman, publisher and co-editors of the book should not be punished for distorting the country's history.
Petitioner's counsel Joy said the HC in a 2009 verdict ruled that it was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who proclaimed Bangladesh's independence in 1971. At that time, the HC also declared illegal all publications that described late president Ziaur Rahman as the declarer of independence.
Ziaur Rahman was not a major general during the liberation war, Joy said.
During the hearing on the petition, senior lawyers Humayun Hossain Khan, Yusuf Hossain Humayun and Abdul Matin Khasru told the court that Ziaur Rahman himself had never claimed he was the declarer of independence.