The Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Dinesh Sharma, on Tuesday said Mughal rulers played no role in India’s history other than looting its wealth, India Today reported. Sharma, who also holds the secondary and higher education portfolios, said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government was working towards introducing a new syllabus in schools that will be based on modern history.

““They [Mughals] looted the country,” India Today quoted Sharma as saying. “This is not our history.” Sharma said all religions would be respected equally in Uttar Pradesh, but that the government “would not accept Pakistani-Talibani culture”.

Sharma made the statement at an awards function in Lucknow. Babur and Aurangzeb harassed people and committed atrocities, the Hindustan Times quoted him. “A panel of historians will be formed to rewrite history as most of the Indian greats have been shown in poor light in the past,” the newspaper report quoted him. Sharma reportedly said that leaders including Guru Teg Bahadur, Maharana Pratap, Guru Govind Singh and Shivaji were portrayed as dacoits in current textbooks.

“We must learn to respect our ancestors,” the Hindustan Times quoted Sharma as saying. “We do not carry the legacy of invaders but we carry the legacy of Lord Ram, Krishna, Guru Nanak, Mahavir, Gautam Buddha, Guru Govind Singh and Shivaji.”

Textbook content has been much debated, with critics accusing the right-wing administration of trying to portray a skewed version of history. The Maharashtra State Education Board excluded chapters about Muslim rulers in India and the Mughals from its history textbooks for Class VII and IX students.