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Indian Schoolbook Brands Khomeini As ‘One Of World’s Most Evil Men’

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An Indian publishing house has issued an apology following backlash over a sixth-grade school textbook including Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, as one of the “most evil men in history.”

The listing of Khomeini’s name sparked criticism from India’s Shia Muslim community, who hold him in high regard as a religious leader and Islamic scholar.

This perspective sharply contrasts with the sentiments of many Iranians, especially the younger generation, who view Khomeini as a dictator responsible for the regime’s egregious and numerous human rights abuses.

Videos often show young Iranians tearing Khomeini’s images out of textbooks, setting fire to his photos or trampling on them– and in some cases, replacing his images with that of former monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The description in the Indian textbook, which caused outrage stated that: “During his reign, [Khomeini] did many evil deeds. He used to kill people who didn’t believe in ‘Allah’. People had to face brutality even if they listened to music. He was the culprit behind the Iranian revolution (1979) and also the Iran-Iraq war, making him responsible for the deaths of millions of people.”

The controversy, fuelled by India’s Muslim community, gained further traction when the “Khomeini For All” X page tweeted about the book, stating that the “Indian publisher insults Imam Khomeini…We urge authorities to take swift and stern action. Failure to do so will provoke community outrage.” The group running the page called for action from the Meerut and Delhi police against the publishers.

Following the 1979 revolution and with the help of a non-legitimate referendum, Khomeini and those close to him created the Islamic Republic in Iran.

Khomeini’s subsequent rule was marked by suppression of political dissent, the establishment of a theocratic government with no civil liberties, and the initiation of purges targeting political opponents and intellectuals.

The early years of the Islamic Republic saw the execution of former government officials and army leaders, with 1981 marked by a particularly brutal massacre following a Fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini. The period targeted a wide range of political opponents and is remembered as one of the darkest chapters in Iran’s modern history.

The mass killings of political prisoners in 1981, which extended into early 1982, were methodical and have been categorized as crimes against humanity by countries like Canada. These acts were part of a larger strategy to consolidate power by the newly established Islamic regime, which publicly listed the names of the executed and defended its actions in face of international criticism.

Following the onslaught of criticism over the book by India’s Muslim groups, Acuber Books International issued a statement, saying that they will “rectify [the] error swiftly and unequivocally.”

“It has come to our attention that labeling him among the ‘most evil men in history’ is not only inaccurate but also deeply offensive to many individuals and communities,” the letter received by Kashmir Observer states.