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NCERT To Remove Material About 2002 Gujarat Riots From New Syllabus

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The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), noting “textbook rationalisation” to alleviate the burden on students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, has removed material related to the Gujarat 2002 riots from the Class 12 Political Science syllabus.

Pages 187–189, which discuss the Gujarat riots among other topics, will be removed, according to a letter published by NCERT on Thursday, June 16. The “Naxalite movement” (page 105) and “Controversies regarding Emergency” (pages 113–117) sections of the textbook will no longer be included in the new edition.

A section of the part which will be removed reads “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.”

A statement made by the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with regards to Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat’s chief minister at the time, has also been removed. 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.”

According to NCERT, the elimination of content was done as part of the rationalisation process, which also got rid of “overlapping content” in other subject areas for the same class. Such content “is irrelevant in the present context,” it added.

The 2002 Gujarat riots erupted after 58 Hindu pilgrims (karsevaks) in a train compartment were burned to death in Godhra, resulting in widespread violence that lasted for months. Statistics state that over a thousand individuals died, over 200 went missing, and up to 2,500 were wounded over the following few months, the majority of whom belonged to the Muslim community.

It is suspected that the state was complicit in the violence, which has been labelled “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing (of Muslims),” and “pogrom” by various scholars.

The statement read “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.”

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