The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday withdrew a circular directing all educational institutions in the state to buy copies of the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana for their libraries, IANS reported. An order issued by the state Chief Secretary in Srinagar said, “Circular issued by the Education Department regarding the introduction of some religious books stands withdrawn”
The circular, which was issued on Monday, directed the school education department, the higher education department, Director Colleges, Director Libraries and the Culture Department to “consider purchasing sufficient copies each of Urdu version of ‘Shreemad Bhagwat Geeta’ and ‘Koshur Ramayan’ authored by Shri Sarwanand Premi for making these available in schools/colleges and public libraries of the state”.
However, Director Colleges Zahoor Ahmad Chatt and Director School Education Kashmir GN Itoo denied receiving any such order from the state government, reported Greater Kashmir.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned the rationale behind the state government choosing only the Gita and the Ramayana. “If religious texts are to be placed in schools, colleges and 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?” he tweeted.
The decision to purchase religious books was taken at a meeting chaired by BB Vyas, advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik, on October 4. Earlier this year, the education department decided to introduce Vedic and Buddhist studies at the higher secondary level in the state.