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Distortion of history in textbooks

HC summons Ershadul Bari, BOU registrar

Staff Correspondent

The High Court on Monday summoned Bangladesh Open University’s former vice-chancellor professor Ershadul Bari and its incumbent registrar over distortion of the history of the liberation war in the university’s two textbooks.
Bari, now staying in Malaysia, was asked to appear in the court on March 12, and the registrar, Monjur E Khoda Tarafdar today. BOU vice-chancellor professor RIM Aminur Rashid is also scheduled to appear today on a court directive.
On Monday, the court also requested Bangladesh Bank’s former governor M Farashuddin Ahmed, journalist Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul and BOU treasurer Santi Narayan Ghosh to appear today to assist the court over the matter which they had investigated.
The court heard Dhaka University political science department professor Harun-or-Rashid, who appeared in the court along with his colleague, Shawkat Ara Hossain, on a court order.
Harun blamed the incumbent and former BOU vice-chancellors, and the registrar for reprinting the textbooks, which were written in 2000 by him and Shawkat Ara, by distorting the history of the liberation war without their permission.
The distortion was made after the BNP had assumed office in October 2001, he added.
In the 2000 editions, the books contained correct information and facts of the history of the liberation war, but the BOU authorities ran reprints of the textbooks in 2002, 2005 and 2009, in which history was distorted, he said.
‘After coming to know about the matter through newspaper reports on November 22, 2009, I warned the incumbent VC that I would take legal action if the textbooks were not corrected immediately, but the authorities did nothing,’ said Harun.  
He said that a fraud case had been filed against 10 persons, including the VC, on charge of reprinting textbooks without the authors’ permission and the court had asked the accused to appear on April 5.
The reprints of Sociology 2nd paper and Civics 2nd paper of HSC under the BOU have termed late president Ziaur Rahman the proclaimer of the country’s independence, although the HC in a verdict in 2009 ruled that the country’s founding-president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had declared the independence on March 26, 1971.
On May 26, 2010, the court had asked 28 persons, including the five, to explain why books published and distributed by Open University should not be declared illegal, and also should not be confiscated.
The respondents were also required to explain why they should not be prosecuted for treason and other offence under the penal code on charge of distorting the universally recognised and endorsed history that the country was liberated under the leadership of its founding-president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after a successful war of liberation from the Pakistani occupation.
The court issued the rule after hearing a writ petition filed by two Supreme Court lawyers, Altaf Uddin Ahmed and Mahmud Hossain, challenging the legality of publishing the books.

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