Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. — File photo by AFP
Sheikh Hasina’s government insists the trials will be fair, though guilty verdicts are widely expected for all those arrested so far. —File photo by AFP

DHAKA: A Bangladesh court has ordered millions of copies of a school textbook to be seized in a dispute over credit for the nation's 1971 independence struggle, a state prosecutor said Monday.

The high court in Dhaka instructed police to confiscate the book, a compilation of essays taught in high schools, for “distortion” in its account of how the country then known as East Pakistan emerged as Bangladesh.

“The court ruled that the book wrongly said major general Ziaur Rahman was the proclaimer of the country's independence in 1971,” deputy attorney general Altaf Hossain told AFP.

Bangladesh's independence remains a bitter political issue as Rahman's widow is now leader of the opposition, while the country's founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“Police have been ordered to confiscate all copies of the books from schools, shops and markets in 15 days,” Hossain said.

The writer, editors and head of the government's textbook authority have been summoned to the court on February 2, he added.

An angry, decades-long debate about who actually called on the population to launch armed resistance against Pakistan still divides national politics in Bangladesh.

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