SRINAGAR: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has revised a chapter in the Class 12 Political Science textbook, to replace content on separatist politics in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with electoral politics and scrapping of its special status, reported The Indian Express.
According to report published in The Indian Express, the change in J&K’s status from a state to Union territory has been introduced in the chapter titled ‘Regional Aspirations’ in the textbook ‘Politics in India since Independence’.
On August 5, 2019, Parliament had approved a resolution abrogating special status to J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution. The state was also bifurcated into two Union territories — Ladakh with no Legislative Assembly and Jammu and Kashmir with one.
The Indian Express compared the old and new versions of the textbook to find that the topic ‘Separatism and Beyond’, which elaborated on “different forms” of separatist politics in J&K, has been deleted.
“Separatist politics which surfaced in Kashmir from 1989 has taken different forms and is made up of various strands. There is one strand of separatists who want a separate Kashmiri nation, independent of India and Pakistan. Then there are groups that want Kashmir to merge with Pakistan. Besides these, there is a third strand which wants greater autonomy for the people of the State within the Indian union. The idea of autonomy attracts the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions in a different way. They often complain of neglect and backwardness. Therefore, the demand for intra-State autonomy is as strong as the demand for the State autonomy,” the deleted portion read.
Under ‘Separatism and Beyond’, the old version of the textbook further stated that the initial period of “popular support to militancy has now given way to the urge for peace” and that the Centre has started negotiations with various separatist groups.
The above head has now been replaced with the new topic ‘2002 and Beyond’ that talks about democratically elected coalition governments of PDP and Congress in 2002, NC and Congress in 2009, and the PDP-BJP in 2014.
The scrapping of J&K’s special status under Article 370 is then introduced, saying, “During the tenure of Mahbooba Mufti, major acts of militancy, mounting external and internal tensions were witnessed. The President’s rule was imposed in June 2018 after BJP withdrew its support to the Mufti government. On August 5 2019, Article 370 was abolished by the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 and the state was constituted into two Union Territories, viz., Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.”
Another new paragraph introduced earlier in the chapter says that despite the special status under Article 370, J&K “experienced violence, cross border terrorism and political instability with internal and external ramifications”. “It also resulted in the loss of many lives, including that of innocent civilians, security personnel and militants. Besides, there was also a large scale displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley,” it states.
The chapter now carries details on the United Nation’s 1948 resolution that recommended a free and fair plebiscite in J&K.
That apart, the NCERT has also deleted one political cartoon on peace in Kashmir that depicts a dove riddled with bullets. A quote by former J&K governor B K Nehru on the dismissal of Farooq Abdullah’s government (“The Kashmiris were convinced now at the second dethronement of their elected leader [in 1984] that India would never permit them to rule themselves”) is also no longer there in the chapter.
NCERT textbooks are used by all schools affiliated to the CBSE. About 19 school systems (boards and SCERTs) from 14 states have adopted or adapted these books, reported The Indian Express.