Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education has directed all schools across Jammu and Kashmir not to use books from any private publisher as they are not properly reviewed by the experts.
The directions came after it came into notice that a Delhi-based private publishing house, Jay Cee Publications has published ‘History and Civics’ books of 7th standard portraying the pictures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Angel Gabriel (AS) and were used in various schools of JK.
Joint Secretary Publishing, JK BOSE, Wahid Maqdomi told Free Press Kashmir that they have already directed all the schools to withdraw books from private publishers.
“It is mandatory for all schools registered in JK BOSE to use books prescribed by the board. We have set up books in collaboration with NCERT keeping in mind all the aspects of our society and religion. Every book goes through regular screening. Our experts review books checking all the parameters and then we make the book publicly available,” Maqdomi informed.
However, he said that some private publishers set up books according to the curriculum set by GoI and they have the same content in their books as that of NCRT but they are not reviewed properly and contain objectionable content in it.
“As per the registration rules, no school is supposed to use books from private publishers but some local schools may be using private publisher’s books which will invite them to trouble. Their registration will be cancelled whoever uses such books. You might have noticed that in class 9th and 10th every school uses books developed by the board because their exams are conducted by the same,” he noted.
Soon after the matter was noticed by people, social media was flooded with criticism and demanded strict action against the publisher.
Choudhary Irshad Khatana, a tribal activist took to Twitter to express concern over the issue, “#Shocking this is the matter of concern. Prominent publication house namely (***) has published history and civics books for class 7th (which is in circulation in various Srinagar school) in which they have published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”
Meer Asif, another netizen tweeted, “This publication must be banned. And every school should check the contents and lessons of the book thoroughly before selecting books for their schools.”
Sensing the agitation over the issue, the Srinagar administration wrote to JK police to take stern action against the publishing house.
“Chief Education Officer has informed the administration that a Delhi-based publisher has published a social studies book for class 7th wherein content of sensitive nature has reportedly been published and is in circulation. The said book is being stocked and distributed by Paradise Book Shop, parraypora Srinagar,” the official letter of district administration reads.
The letter directed police to take stern action against the said publishing house as well as the distributor of the book as per the law.
Meanwhile, the publication house later issued an apology letter calling it an ‘unintentional mistake’.
Director JAY CEE Publications PVT LTD, J C Goyal said in apology, “Due to lack of knowledge about the prohibition of picturization in the Islam, we made an unintentional mistake in our book “History & Civics Book 7, edition 2020, Chapter 02, page number 033, which has hurt the religious sentiments of our respected brethren.”
“We as a whole team of Jay Cee Publications Pvt Ltd apologies and highly regret the inconvenience, thus caused to our respected brothers and friends. We also promise and assure all our brothers and friends that the mistake will not be repeated in future editions”, the handout reads.