New Delhi, Dec. 4: The Lok Sabha secretariat was tonight forced to withdraw a pamphlet which described freedom fighters as “terrorists” after it created a ripple here.
The British had described leaders of the Independence struggle, such as Aurobindo Ghosh and Bhagat Singh, as “thuggis” and “dacoits”.
But the Lok Sabha secretariat publication had labelled them “terrorists”. The withdrawn pamphlet said the terrorists believed in the philosophy of insurrection, assassination, destruction of public property and subversion to achieve their objective.
Titled Movement for Freedom and Democratic Institutions, the pamphlet was being circulated among Parliament members and was to be sent to foreign countries.
Earlier in the day, the gaffe created a ripple in the Rajya Sabha. Senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh was the first to object to it and demand immediate withdrawal of the publication. “These words should not be used to describe our revolutionary leaders,” he said.
On deputy chairperson Najma Heptullah’s directive, an embarrassed O. Rajagopal, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs, accepted the members’ concern and said he would convey their feelings to the authorities concerned.
Backing Singh, his party colleague Pranab Mukherjee said: “This is like denigrating our freedom movement. The words terrorist and extremist have acquired a different connotation in the present times.”
Under the head Revolutionary Movement, it said: “Extremists in turn gave birth to the terrorist movement. The objective of the terrorist movement was to free India from the British yoke for reconstructing a society on the basis of information, equality and justice. The terrorists believed in the philosophy of instigation, insurrection, assassination, guerrilla warfare, destruction of public property and subversion to achieve their objective.”
Interspersed were photographs of Bhagat Singh, Aurobindo Ghosh, Madam Bhikaji Rustamji Cama, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sukhdev, Shivram Hari, Rajguru, Ram Manohar Lohia, Aruna Asaf Ali and Jayaprakash Narayan.
The pamphlet also had brief write-ups on Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March, Cripps Mission, the role of INA and the non-cooperation movement.