Mumbai: Father Nigel Barrett, the spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bombay, on Saturday said that the Don Bosco School in Matunga had withdrawn a controversial handbook for Class IV students which had mentioned the great Maharashtrian warrior Shivaji as Dalit after the Shiv Sena objected to it.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani had created a row after she said in Parliament that the school in Matunga was using a handbook, authored by activist Teesta Setalvad, for Class 4 history teachers.
Talking to news agency ANI, Father Barret said: "I think Don Bosco has been emphatic in saying that they used it as an experiment, it was used for one year and they withdrew it immediately after there were objections to some of the contents especially, with the context from the Shiv Sena objected to some of the lines with the great Maharashtrian warrior Shivaji."
Father Barret called it “unfortunate” that this issue was raised in Parliament.
"I think (Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti) Irani wanted to illustrate the point as to how under the previous regime textbooks were used as a means to create a one zone agenda," he added.
After being criticised by opposition leaders for the manner in which the BJP government treated students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for `anti-national` activities, Irani flashed the handbook and quoted from it, claiming it created differences between students on religious and caste grounds.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, school's principal Father Bernard Fernandes has confirmed that the school had stopped using the textbook around 2004.
(With ANI inputs)