School Book By Private Publisher Banned For Hurtful Depictions, Police Asked To Register Case

SRINAGAR: In a bid to prevent tensions, authorities have banned a social studies book published by a private publisher for the seventh standard. While the Board of School Education has asked schools not to include the book in the syllabus, the civil administration in Srinagar has asked the police to register a case and take stern action against the publisher and the local distributor.

The book has a pictorial representation of the most revered figures in Islam. Muslims across the globe and history have taken acts of visual depictions of revered figures as blasphemy.

Acting on communication received from Chief Education Officer Srinagar vide No. CEO/Sgr/IMW/11499-11500/21 dated December 5, 2021, additional district magistrate Dr Syed Haneef Balkhi has termed the content as “sensitive nature” and has named publisher as Jay-Cee Publications (P) Ltd, New Delhi and local distributor as Paradise Book Shop, Parraypora, Srinagar.

The controversy came to the fore when the academic community found pictorial representations of Islam’s revered figures on page 33 of the book titled Jay Cee’s ICSE History & Civics Forever.

According to the reports, the book for class 7th has been adopted by various private institutions operating in Srinagar. Acting upon the information, the Board of School Education has directed all schools in UT of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh “not to use textbook of History & Civics” edition of 2020 for class 7th published by Jay Cee publications, otherwise strict action as warranted under law shall be initiated.”

Under fire, the publisher has tendered an apology citing the reason as “lack of knowledge about the prohibition of pictuarisation in the Islam.” The Director of the publication, JC Goyal has said “we made an unintentional mistake in our book which has hurt religious sentiments of our brethren.” In his apology letter, Goyal has “regretted and assured not to repeat the mistake in future editions.”

Meanwhile, the private school association has called for a meeting on December 6 with booksellers and publishers to ascertain factual position over the issue.

Kashmir’s religious and political class has strongly reacted to the book and expressed concern. “Such irresponsible publications are hurtful and least helpful in preserving the values of dialogue and coexistence,” NC President, Dr Farooq Abdullah has said while condemning the hurtful drawings. “It seems that the government has thrown caution to the winds while dealing with such a sensitive subject. School books should be a beacon of respect, tolerance and peace that rejects practices and acts which are contrary to coexistence.”


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