The National Council for Educational Research and Training’s new Class 12 textbook for political science does not mention the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya by name, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

The textbook instead refers to it as a “three-dome structure [that] was built at the site of Shri Ram’s birthplace” by Mughal emperor Babur’s general Mir Baqi in the 16th century. The textbook said that the “structure had visible displays of Hindu symbols and relics in its interior as well as its exterior portions”.

The old textbook referred to the Babri Masjid as a 16th-century mosque built by Mir Baqi.

The Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindutva extremists in December 1992 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.

The Ram temple in Ayodhya is now being built at the site of the demolished mosque. The temple was inaugurated in a ceremony led by Prime Minister Modi on January 22.

In the new NCERT textbook, the section on Ayodhya has been reduced from four to two pages, according to The Indian Express.

The old textbook had referred to mobilisation “on both sides” after the locks of the Babri Masjid were opened in February 1986 pursuant to the Faizabad district court’s order. It had noted that the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had led the agitation for the Ram temple, had expressed regret “over the happenings at Ayodhya”, and had also noted that the dispute had led to a debate on secularism.

In the new textbook, these references have been removed and replaced with this extract: “In 1986, the situation regarding the three-dome structure took a significant turn when the Faizabad (now Ayodhya) district court ruled to unlock the structure, allowing people to worship there. The dispute had been going on for many decades as it was believed that the three-dome structure was built at Shri Ram’s birthplace after demolition of a temple.”

The new textbook says that at the time, Hindus felt that their concerns about “the birth place of Shri Ram” were ignored, while Muslims “sought assurance of their possession over the structure”, according to The Indian Express.

The old textbook also reportedly had clippings of newspaper articles, including one with the headline: “Babri Masjid demolished, Centre sacks Kalyan Govt”. Another newspaper clipping quoted former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as saying that Ayodhya was the “BJP’s worst miscalculation”. The new textbook does not have any newspaper clippings on the dispute.

Till 1949, only Muslims regularly offered prayers in the Babri mosque. However, in December that year, an idol of Ram Lalla – or infant Ram – was surreptitiously placed inside the mosque by Hindutva groups.

This led to a law-and-order situation in Ayodhya. To stave it off, an executive magistrate placed the mosque premises under the custodial responsibility of the local municipal board. In January 1950, the municipal board locked the entrance to the mosque.

The opening of the locks of the Babri Masjid in 1986 gave fresh momentum to the demand for the Ram temple, culminating in the mosque’s demolition in 1992.