Jharkhand church to withdraw controversial history book

March 14th, 2008 - 4:13 pm ICT by admin  

Ranchi, March 14 (IANS) A church in Jharkhand Friday said it would withdraw a controversial book published by it over criticism that it portrayed Thakur Vishwanath Sahdeo, a prominent freedom fighter of the state, in negative light. The Gossner Evangelical Lutheran (GEL) Church came out with a book called “History of Chotanagpur Masihi Mandal”, which allegedly portrays Sahdeo, who was the king of a small region, as a repressor. It says that Sahdeo was behind attacks on churches during the freedom struggle.

The church has now announced that it will withdraw the book from shops.

“We will get the book back from stalls. Our purpose was not to hurt the sentiments of Sahdeo’s family and the people of the state,” said Siril Lakra, general secretary of GEL Church.

But he added: “It is true that Christians were tortured during the freedom struggle. The fight was against British and we were targeted despite the fact that our church belonged to Germany”.

Sahdeo was a freedom fighter and is revered by the people of Jharkhand. His statues have been installed at several places across the state.

The matter was also raised by legislators in the state assemble Thursday.

“The book should be banned and action should be taken against the writer and publisher of the book,” said leader of opposition Arjun Munda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Speaker Aalamgir Aalam directed the state government to probe the issue and submit a report in the assembly in two days.

Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi, however, was against punishing the writer and publisher of the book. “Historians express their own view and it does not mean they should be punished,” he said.

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