J&K government withdraws order for purchasing Ramayana, Bhagwad Gita in schools after Omar raises objections

The circular issued by the J&K Education Department has been withdrawn.

J&K government withdraws order for purchasing Ramayana, Bhagwad Gita in schools after Omar raises objections

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday withdrew a controversial order asking educational institutions across the state to purchase copies of the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana for their libraries.

An order in this regard was passed by the state's Chief Secretary.

"Circular issued by the Education Department regarding the introduction of some religious books stands withdrawn," the Chief Secretary said.

The decision to buy copies of the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana was made public on Monday through an order issued by the Education Department.

The government order stated that the decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Governor Satya Pal Malik’s advisor on October 22. 

"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-Geeta" and "Koshur Ramayana", authored by Sarwanand Premi for making these available in Schools/Colleges and public libraries etc of the State," the order said. 

The J&K government order led to widespread criticism.

National Conference leader and state's former chief minister Omar Abdullah has taken exception to the order and questioned the selective approach of the state government.

In a tweet, Abdullah also accused the J&K government of ignoring other religions.

“Why just the Gita & Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, collages & 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? (sic),” Omar tweeted.

Reacting to the controversy, GN Itoo, Director, School Education Kashmir (DSEK), was quoted as saying by media reports that he hadn’t received the letter of the government order.