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Sunday, July 24, 2005

BBC NEWS | South Asia | 'Nazi' row over Indian textbooks

BBC NEWS | South Asia | 'Nazi' row over Indian textbooks 'Nazi' row over Indian textbooks
Human rights campaigners in India's Gujarat state have condemned school textbooks which they say praise Hitler.

The books are issued by the Hindu nationalist state government. One includes a chapter on the "internal achievements of Nazism".

A Jesuit priest and social activist, Cedric Prakash, says the books contain more than 300 factual errors and make little mention of the holocaust.

The Gujarat government has dismissed the charges as baseless.

A senior official from the state education department told the BBC that anomalies arose when the book was translated from Gujarati into English, and are being quoted out of context.

Troubled state

The books, used to teach students aged 13 to 15, were introduced last year and have been reissued for the current school year.

Father Prakash told AFP news agency: "We first researched the textbooks in 2004 and pointed out some glaringly distorted historical facts to the state education board.

"Despite protests from parents, peace activists and educationists, the updated school books still contain the same objectionable text this academic year."

He said it was time to take the matter to court.

In the chapter entitled "Internal achievements of Nazism," one textbook quoted by AFP states: "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time, establishing a strong administrative set-up."

Communal feelings run high in Gujarat - once the adopted home of Mahatma Gandhi.

Religious riots in 2002 officially killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims. Human rights groups place the figure much higher.
Story from BBC NEWS:

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