Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday asked Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh to "express remorse and apologize to the Khalsa Panth for the incalculable hurt caused to it by denigrating the great Gurus" in the newly brought out Class 12th history book of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).
In a statement, the five-time chief minister said: "It is condemnable that the chief minister has abrogated his responsibility as head of state and refused to register criminal cases against those responsible for preparation and distribution of sacrilegious material which had assaulted the senses of Sikhs worldwide."
"The mere withdrawal of the history book which launches a brazen assault on the sacred image of the great Sikh Guru Sahiban, especially Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Hargobind, Guru Tegh Bahadur and the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh, is not enough. The chief minister should own responsibility for this grave sin and apologize to the Khalsa Panth and seek its forgiveness immediately," Badal said.
He said that the Congress government's refusal to bring the perpetrators, including the chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, to book indicated that "there was a deep-rooted conspiracy to distort Sikh history and through it, strike at the very core of the Sikh religion".
Badal said no Sikh could tolerate the claim as written in the new book that Guru Gobind Singh fled from Chamkaur Sahib without informing anyone and that the Mughals did not order the martyrdom of the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, but had merely "fined" him.
The former chief minister said all these distortions occurred after the Punjab government was forced to remove similar sacrilegious material from the same books following which chief minister Amarinder Singh formed a committee to prepare new history books for Class 11th and 12th.
(With inputs from agencies.)