Pro-freedom politics out, article 370 abrogation added in NCERT class 12 textbook

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In a revised chapter in the twelfth standard political science textbook, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has replaced content on pro-freedom politics in Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) with electoral politics and scrapping of its special status in August 2019, reported the Indian Express.

Comparing the old and new versions of the textbook to find that the topic ‘Separatism and Beyond’, elaborated on “different forms” of pro-freedom politics in J-K, the newspaper reported that has been deleted. The downgrading of the erstwhile state has been introduced in the chapter titled ‘Regional Aspirations’ in the textbook ‘Politics in India since Independence’.

Last year, on 5 August, Amit Shah, the union home minister, tabled J-K Reorganization Bill, abrogating special status to J-K under Article 370 of the Constitution. It also bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union territories — Ladakh with no Legislative Assembly and Jammu and Kashmir with one.

“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.

Instead of ‘Separatism and Beyond’, the book now mentions a new topic: ‘2002 and Beyond’, which 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, reported the newspaper.

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. (Inputs from Indian Express)

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