NEW DELHI – The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has made changes in the textbook of political science of Class 12 by replacing the content on the separatist politics with that on the removal of Article 370 and the electoral politics in the erstwhile state.
The Narendra Modi government has scrapped the special status of the Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the former state into two Union Territories last year in September. The move has been termed as ‘unconstitutional and undemocratic’ by the opposition and legal experts.
“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 wants 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 was quoted by Indian Express as saying.
The older text under ‘Separatism and Beyond’ also 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 content has been replaced with the new content on the coalition government of PDP and the Congress in 2002, National Conference and Congress in 2009 and the PDP-BJP in 2014 under the title ‘2002 and Beyond’.
In this chapter, the revocation of the Article is mentioned which states “During the tenure of Mehbooba Mufti, major acts of terrorism, 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 paragraph in the chapter said despite special status given to the Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, it “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 also talks about the United Nations’s 1948 resolution which recommended the free and fair plebiscite in the J&K.
The conversion of the state into union territories has been mentioned in the chapter titled ‘Regional Aspirations’ in the textbook ‘Politics in India since Independence’.
Apart from that, the NCERT also deleted some other contents. The political cartoon on peace in Kashmir which shows a dove riddled with bullets has been removed. 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 part of the chapter.
The removal and addition of these contents came at a time when the eyebrows already were raised on the deletion of chapters on secularism, citizenship, democracy and federalism from CBSE’s textbook in order to reduce the burden on the students amid the Coronavirus.