Circular asking to buy Hindu scriptures withdrawn in J&K

According to official order, the decision was taken on October 4 during a meeting chaired by BB Vyas, advisor to state Governor Satyapal Malik

New Delhi: After triggering a row, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on Tuesday withdrew an order asking all educational institutions in the state to purchase “sufficient copies” of the Urdu translation of Hindu scriptures Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana for their libraries.

The circular dated October 22, signed by Under Secretary to Government School Education Department Mohammad Yakub Malik asking to purchase the Hindu religious texts sparked a controversy in the Muslim-majority state.

“The School Education Department, Higher Education Department, Director Colleges, Director Libraries and Culture Department will consider purchasing sufficient number of copies each of Urdu version of Shrimad Bhagwat Gita and Koshur Ramayan wrote by Shri Sarwanand Premi for making these available in schools/colleges and public libraries etc of the state. I am directed to request you to take further action as per rules and following all codal formalities required,” the circular read.

According to the official order, the decision was taken on October 4 during a meeting chaired by BB Vyas, adviser to state Governor Satyapal Malik.

Former J&K Chief Minister (CM) Omar Abdullah on Tuesday slammed the circular and questioned the rationale behind it.

“Why just the Gita and Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, collages and government libraries (and I am not convinced that they need/should be) then why is it being done selectively? Why are other religions being ignored?” he said.

After the backlash, the order was withdrawn on the directions of J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subramaniyam.

“The circular issued by the Education Department regarding introduction of some religious books stands withdrawn ab initio under the orders of the Chief Secretary,” J&K Police said in a tweet.

Reacting to the withdrawal of the order, Congress senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad tweeted, “Kashmir is one place in India where there has been no communalism. If the government introduced religious books in education and then realised their mistake and revoked it, it is good. The government should not get involved in religious things.”

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