Following demand from the Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) to delete 'Islamophobic' content in a school book in Telangana, the state authorities on Sunday assured appropriate action while the publisher has apologised and decided to delete the objectionable photograph. The director of school education clarified that the objectionable photograph was not published in the government prescribed text book of 8th class but in the Question Bank prepared and published by VGS Brilliant Series publication, a private firm.
The director said in a statement that appropriate action will be initiated against the publishers responsible for this. SIO's Telangana chapter had strong exception to the picture of a 'terrorist' showing him holding a rocket launcher in his right hand and carrying holy Quran in his left hand. It was published in the chapter 'National movement - the last phase 1919 -1947'.
Dr Talha Faiyazuddin, president, SIO Telangana condemned the publication of Islamophobic content and urged the state's education minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy to initiate action against the publisher. He said such content will prejudice students' minds. "It is creating and propagating stereotypical, hateful and Islamophobic view towards Muslim community, by showing a person holding a gun in his right hand and the holy Quran in left hand. It is a discriminatory and hateful content which destroys the harmony, unity and integrity of the society," he said.
Meanwhile, VGS Publishers has apologized for carrying the picture. It announced that it will delete the picture and reprint the books. It also promised to withdraw unsold books from the market.
The Vijayawada-based publisher in a statement expressed regrets. "It was not at all intentional. We do not intend to hurt anybody's sentiments. However, we have decided to delete the picture and reprint the books," it said.
"We are also in the process of collecting back unsold copies from the market to avoid any further inconvenience to anyone," it added.
Earlier in the day, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Ahmed Balala called upon the education minister to demand criminal case against the publisher. He also urged the government to seize the books carrying the objectionable and blasphemous photograph.
The MIM leader said the photograph promotes hate and incorrect information about Islam and the glorious Quran. "This is blasphemous and hurting the feelings of Muslims. Islam neither endorses/promotes terrorism nor the people who use the Glorious Quran to justify terrorism. This is highly objectionable and will not be tolerated and may spread hate in the community," the MIM leader wrote in his letter to the minister.