Schools in Kerala will continue teaching portions about the demolition of the Babri Masjid that have been deleted from the National Council of Educational Research and Training’s political science textbook, the state’s general education minister V Sivankutty said on Tuesday, Manorama reported.

The autonomous education body’s updated Class 12 textbook for political science does not mention Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid by name. Instead, it refers to the erstwhile mosque 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.

“Textbooks should not comprise narrow ideological positions or propaganda of any movement,” PTI quoted Sivankutty as saying. “Actual history and science should be taught to students.”

Sivankutty said that the Kerala government had, in the past, brought out parallel textbooks containing portions of lessons on Mughal history and the 2002 Gujarat riots that had been omitted from the council’s textbooks.

These parallel textbooks were prepared keeping in mind Kerala’s secular and progressive culture, and to uphold constitutional values, the minister said. The state’s curriculum committee will decide on a similar course of action with regard to the deleted references to the Babri Masjid, Manorama quoted Sivankutty as saying.

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 Narendra Modi on January 22.

The council’s old textbook had referred to mobilisation “on both sides” after the locks of the Babri Masjid were opened in February 1986 pursuant to a Faizabad district court 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”. The textbook had also noted that the dispute had led to a debate on secularism.

In the council’s updated 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 updated textbook includes a reference to the 2019 Supreme Court judgement that allowed the construction of a Ram temple at the site.

When asked about the omissions, National Council of Educational Research and Training Director Dinesh Prasad Saklani claimed that including lessons about riots in school textbooks “can create violent and depressed citizens”.

“We want to create positive citizens, not violent and depressed individuals,” he told PTI.

In Kerala, the National Council of Educational Research and Training’s textbooks are taught in class 11 and class 12 for science and social science subjects.