Teaching about riots “can create violent and depressed citizens” National Council of Educational Research and Training director Dinesh Prasad Saklani told PTI on Saturday when asked about theremoval of references to the 2002 Gujarat riots and the demolition of the Babri Masjid from school textbooks.

The NCERT has also removed content on the Mughal rule in India and the nationwide Emergency imposed in 1975 among other such events from its textbooks.

In a note released on June 13, the NCERT had said that the revision was part of “rationalisation of contents in textbooks”. Changes have been made to textbooks for Classes 6 to Classes 12.

“Why should we teach about riots in school textbooks,” Saklani told PTI when asked about the revisions. “We want to create positive citizens, not violent and depressed individuals.”

He asked whether the NCERT should teach students in a manner that they become “offensive, create hatred in society or become victims of hatred”, reported PTI.

“Is that education’s purpose,” he asked. “Should we teach about riots to such young children? When they grow up, they can learn about it but why school textbooks? Let them understand what happened and why it happened when they grow up. The hue and cry about the changes is irrelevant.”

Saklani said that whatever text is changed is decided by subject and pedagogy experts.

“I do not dictate or interfere in the process, there is no imposition from the top,” he said. “There are no attempts to saffronise curriculum, everything is based on facts and evidence.”

The revised Class 12 political science textbook does not mention the Babri Masjid by name and refers to it instead as a “three-domed structure [that] was built at the site of Shri Ram’s birthplace”.

It now includes a reference to the 2019 Supreme Court judgement that allowed the construction of a Ram temple at the site where the Babri Masjid had once stood.

The mosque was demolished by Hindutva extremists on December 6, 1992, because they believed that it stood on the spot on which the deity Ram had been born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

The NCERT has removed texts on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led rath yatra that sought the construction of Ram temple, the role of Hindutva extremists, communal violence in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the president’s rule in BJP-ruled states that followed, and the BJP’s statement expressing “regret” over what happened in Ayodhya.