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Hindu organisation flays US court's decision on textbooks

Source: PTI
September 05, 2006 21:32 IST
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A US court has upheld a Hindu organisation's contention that the process of adopting textbooks containing flawed presentation of Hinduism was "illegal", but refused to "toss" them out of schools saying it would be "disruptive" for students.

The Hindu American Foundation had brought the lawsuit on behalf of Hindu parents from California against the State Board of Education arguingĀ that theĀ procedure through which SBE reviewed and approved revisions in sixth grade textbooks, especially as to the presentation of Hinduism, was not conducted under regulations required under the state Administrative Procedures Act.

"As a result, HAF held, anti-Hindu academics were illegally allowed to bias the process against Hindu parents and students in California resulting in textbooks that presented the debunked Aryan migration theory as fact, misrepresented caste as central to Hinduism and left the impression that Hinduism devalued the role of women," HAF said in a release.

California Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette last week ruled the textbook adoption process was "flawed" and "illegal", but withheld an opinion on the violation of the open meeting act, deciding that since the entire process was already "invalid" a specific ruling would be redundant.

Marlette also ruled that the "relief" claimed by the HAF would be disruptive not only to those affected sixth graders, but potentially every California public school student using any and every textbook adopted under the SBE's unlawful policies.

"The court, therefore, determines that respondent (SBE) should be permitted a reasonable opportunity to correct the deficiencies in its regulatory framework governing the textbook approval process while maintaining the current system in the interim," the judge said.

Reacting to the ruling, HAF said, "It would seem logical that if the process was illegal, then the resulting textbooks must be tossed out and the adoption process repeated."

"Apparently, Judge Marlette is reluctant to reject possibly millions of books, in addition to those in this case covering sixth grade Social Studies that could be implicated and allowed them to stand for now, that is very disappointing," HAF said.

It also said that its attorneys are considering options for appeal to force revisions to the Hinduism sections in the contested textbooks.

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