The National Council for Education Research and Training has deleted at least three references to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya from the Class 12 political science textbook of the Central Board of Secondary Education, reported The Indian Express.

Instead, the lesson now gives primacy to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, the newspaper reported.

The educational body, which advises the Union government on school syllabi, has revised Chapter 8 of the Politics in India since Independence textbook to refer to the Supreme Court’s 2019 verdict on the Ayodhya dispute as one of the five key recent developments in Indian politics.

On November 9, 2019, the Supreme Court held that the demolition of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992, was illegal, but handed over the land to a trust for a Ram temple to be constructed. The court also directed that a five-acre plot in Ayodhya be allotted to Muslims to build a mosque.

The Ram Janmabhoomi temple is now being built on the site of the Babri mosque, which was demolished by Hindutva extremists because they believed that it stood on the spot where the Hindu deity Ram was born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

According to the newspaper, the original lesson comprised a four-page section on the Ayodhya dispute, detailing the sequence of events that were set in motion after the locks of the Babri mosque were opened, in 1986, to the “mobilisation on both sides” and its demolition.

The complete revised version of this section has not yet been made available, The Indian Express reported. However, the National Council for Education Research and Training on its website said that the lesson has been “updated as per latest development in politics.”

“Text on Ayodhya issue has been thoroughly revised because of the latest changes brought by Supreme Court’s Constitutional bench verdict and its widespread welcoming reception,” the body said.

The original chapter also detailed the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, including the the communal violence that followed, the imposition of President’s Rule in states that were governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the time and the “serious debate over secularism” that the incidents had triggered.

The National Council for Education Research and Training has, however, made public some of the revisions to the chapter.

According to The Indian Express, the National Council for Education Research and Training has deleted the following sentence from the lesson: “A number of events culminated in the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya (known as Babri Masjid) in December 1992. This event symbolised and triggered various changes in the politics of the country and intensified debates about the nature of Indian nationalism and secularism. These developments are associated with the rise of the BJP and the politics of ‘Hindutva’.”

In its place, the lesson now says: “The centuries old legal and political dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya started influencing the politics of India which gave birth to various political changes. The Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Movement, becoming the central issue, transformed the direction of the discourse on secularism and democracy. These changes culminated in the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya following the decision of the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court.”

Two more references to the Babri Masjid have been deleted, according to The Indian Express.

The summary at the beginning of the chapter in the old text read: “What is the legacy of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the Ayodhya demolition for the nature of political mobilisation?” This has been replaced with: “What is the legacy of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement?”

In another deletion in the chapter’s “Exercise” section, “the demolition of Babri Masjid” has been replaced with the “Supreme Court judgement on the Ram Janmabhoomi”, as one of six political events that students must arrange in chronological order.

The revised political science textbook is expected to be used in classrooms within a month, The Indian Express reported.

The other four key developments in Indian politics mentioned by the National Council for Education Research and Training in the chapter are the decline of the Congress after its defeat in the 1989 general elections, the Union government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission in 1990 (which extended affirmative action benefits to Other Backward Classes), the economic reforms that began in 1991 and the assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

A day earlier, the newspaper had reported that the National Council for Education Research and Training had revised a chapter in its Class 12 history textbook to cast doubts on the theory of Aryan migration, instead emphasising that Harappans are the “indigenous people” of the Indus Valley.

The revision to a chapter titled Bricks, Beads and Bones – The Harappan Civilisation in the Themes in India History Part-I textbook emphasised the Harappan civilisation’s “unbroken continuity for 5,000 years” in the region.

The educational body had cited a 2018 study of “ancient DNA” from the Rakhigarhi excavation site in Haryana to justify the “correction” in the history lesson and also suggests that the Harappans practised some form of democratic governance.