JK govt withdraws circular on Urdu version of ‘Bhagwat Geeta’ in schools, colleges

The Jammu and Kashmir government has withdrawn a controversial circular that had asked the Education department to provide the Urdu version of “Bhagwat Geeta” and “Koshur Ramayana” in schools and other educational institutions in the state.

“The circular regarding the introduction of some religious books stands withdrawn ab initio under the orders of the chief secretary,” an official said Tuesday.

The state government had issued the circular Monday, directing the Director of School Education for the Jammu and Kashmir divisions to purchase these religious books.

The circular had asked the School Education department, the Higher Education department, directors of colleges and libraries and the Culture department to consider purchasing a sufficient number of copies of the Urdu version of “Bhagwat Geeta” and “Koshur Ramayana”, authored by Sarwanand Premi.

It was issued as a follow-up to a meeting pertaining to the School Education department, chaired by B B Vyas, Advisor to the Governor, on October 4.

The circular had generated opposition from various quarters, with former chief minister Omar Abdullah questioning the decision to ignore the books of other religions.

“Why just the Gita & Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, colleges & government libraries (and I’m not convinced that they need/should be) then why is it being done selectively? Why are other religions being ignored?,” the National Conference (NC) leader had said in a tweet.

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