Decision was taken at a meeting of the course review committee that the 2002 Gujarat carnage will no longer be called “anti-Muslim riots” in NCERT textbooks and will be instead referred to as the “Gujarat riots” to describe one of the worst communal violence in India since Independence.The committee included representatives of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the National Council of Educational Research And Training (NCERT), sources said.
The change will be made in a Class 12 textbook, published in 2007 during the Congress-led UPA government’s tenure.According to official estimates, nearly 800 Muslims and more than 250 Hindus were killed in the violence in February-March, 2002, and is considered one of the worst communal riots in the country since Independence. The violence was sparked by the death of 57 Hindu pilgrims who were burnt alive in a train compartment at a station in Godhra.
The move could rile the minority community that bore the brunt of the weeks-long violence. Over the past three years, changes in textbooks have been a controversial issue. Several BJP-ruled states, including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra, tweaked schoolbooks in a way that triggered opposition allegations that these governments were trying to saffronise education.
A chapter titled “Politics in India since Independence” (page 187) in the Class XII political science textbook has a passage under the heading “Anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat”.It also talks about the National Human Rights Commission criticising the Gujarat government’s role in failing to control violence and provide relief to victims. Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at that time.
Besides NCERT and CBSE representatives, teachers of some private schools also attended the review meeting on May 11 in Delhi. The CBSE reviewed the book on its own and sent a report to the NCERT following which the meeting was called, the sources added.