New Delhi: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has dropped content relating to the Gujarat 2002 riots from the Class 12 Political Science curriculum, citing “textbook rationalisation” to lessen the burden on students in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Express has reported.
On Thursday, June 16, NCERT released a note stating that pages 187-189 on the Gujarat riots, among others, will be withdrawn. The new version of the textbook will also see content on the “Naxalite movement” (page 105) and “Controversies regarding Emergency” (pages 113-117) withdrawn.
Explaining the reason for dropping content, NCERT, in its note, said, removals were part of the rationalisation process, which also eliminates “overlapping content” in other subject areas for the same class. It also said such content “is irrelevant in the present context.”
“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative to reduce the content load on students. The National Education Policy-2020 also emphasises the same… In this background, the NCERT has undertaken the exercise to rationalise the textbooks for all classes,” the Indian Express report quoted from the note.
As for the content on the Gujarat riots, which will be henceforth dropped, speaks of “government machinery [becoming] susceptible to sectarian passions.”
“Gujarat riots show that the government machinery also becomes susceptible to sectarian passions. Instances, like in Gujarat, alert us to dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes. This poses a threat to democratic politics,” states one of the paragraphs from the content, which will be removed.
It also includes a blurb carrying the statement of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said in reference to then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. “One message to the Chief Minister is that he should follow ‘raj dharma’: A ruler should not make any discrimination between his subjects on the basis of caste, creed and religion.”
The 2002 Gujarat riots broke out after 58 Hindu pilgrims (karsevaks) in a train compartment were burned to death in Godhra, leading to largescale violence lasting for months. Over the next few months, according to estimates, over 1,000 people were killed, over 200 went missing and nearly 2,500 injured, of which most of them belonged to the Muslim community.
Dubbed as ‘genocide’, ‘ethnic cleansing (of Muslims)’ and ‘pogrom’ by various scholars, it is believed that there was state complicity in the violence. In 2012, however, a special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the Supreme Court to probe into the issue dismissed allegations of state complicity and the role of Modi.