India's Christians demand official action over erroneous Jesus description in textbook

Christians in India are outraged over an offensive error printed in the class IX Hindi textbook which referred to Jesus Christ as a demon, and they are now demanding official action to correct it and immediately take the book out of the market.

(REUTERS / Anindito Mukherjee)A schoolgirl reads from a textbook at an open-air school in New Delhi November 20, 2014.

On June 9, the Christian community filed a memorandum to the Ahmedabad District Education Office that said the error in the class IX Hindi textbook offended their religious sentiments, as it described Jesus as "hevaan" (demon) instead of Lord. They also demanded for the cancellation of the publisher's license and the immediate correction in the new books that will be printed, Times of India detailed.

"We demand that government initiate legal action against those involved in this act, for intentionally hurting our sentiments," the Christians said in the memo. "The licence of the publication house should be cancelled and action should be taken against them."

The Christian community wants the chapter containing the offensive error to be deleted from the textbook. Aside from that, they want the involved authorities to publish a public apology in India's top newspapers.

The Gujarat State School Textbook Board chairman has since explained that the offensive error was a result of a misprint. He also promised that it will be corrected soon, News 18 reported.

Advocate Subramaniam Iyer, the person who first noticed the misprinted word, told News 18 that the error was unacceptable. He acknowledged that it may not have been done on purpose but warned that it could cause divisions to emerge among the different communities in the country.

Meanwhile, DEO Navneet Mehta assured the Christian community that the memorandum will be forwarded the concerned parties. The online edition of the said textbook, which appears on the website of GSSTB, has already been corrected to replace "hevaan Isa" (demon Jesus) with "Bhagwan Isa" (Lord Jesus).