An FIR has been filed against publishers and authors for writing in Class 12 Assamese textbook that Narendra Modi, then Gujarat’s chief minister, remained a ‘mute spectator’ during the anti-Muslim riots in 2002.
The FIR was filed by two individuals, Soumitra Goswami and Manav Jyoti Bora, in eastern Assam on Wednesday. In their FIR, the complainants have accused the publisher and the authors of spreading ‘false information’ in a bid to inciting communal feelings.
“Publishers should be socially responsible while publishing books. It is unfortunate that this book with old information, published during the Congress rule, is still being distributed in schools despite a special investigation team giving a clean chit to him (Modi),” Bhattacharya was quoted by The Hindu.
Among those named in the FIR are Guwahati-based publisher and three retired college teachers — Durga Kanta Sarma, Rafiq Zaman and Manash Protim Baruah. The publisher of the book is Assam Book Depot.
In the chapter on ‘Godhra Incident and Anti-Muslim Riot in Gujarat’ on page 376 of the book said that Modi, as Gujarat Chief Minister, was a ‘mute spectator’ while state machinery helped in attacks against the Muslims.
Assam Education Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya has said that the controversial book was published during the Congress regime.
Meanwhile, the authors have said that there was nothing objectionable in the book. Speaking to India Today, Manash Protim Baruah said, “The book is written based on an NCERT textbook and was first published seven years ago. We have not written anything, which is not in the public domain. There are several other books, including ones prescribed by the NCERT, that have the same content regarding the Gujarat riots.”