India finally accepts reality of Azad Kashmir, at least in textbooks

India finally accepts reality of Azad Kashmir, at least in textbooks

Azad Jammu and Kashmir Map

NEW DELHI: At least two new secondary education textbooks for class three in schools run by the Indian Army and government, accepted the ground reality of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) by depicting the map of the disputed region exactly according to Pakistan’s claims, Indian media reported on Sunday.

The Indian government officially used to call this part of the disputed territory between he two nuclear-armed countries as “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region”, but the new textbooks have now shown it as “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”, a term used by Pakistan to describe the region, the report said.Further, the books showed that the Gilgit-Baltistan region, which falls in the part of valley under Pakistani control, is called the Northern Areas.

Indian opposition Bhartia Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that the Education Ministry must get to the bottom of the matter. “The Education Ministry must look into the matter immediately. They must find out if this was a mistake or done deliberately,” he said.“This is a serious matter because Jammu and Kashmir is a controversial topic. If wrong information about the country’s boundaries is being taught to young children, then it must be stopped at once because it goes against the good of the country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said that action would be taken against those responsible. “We do not have information on the issue. If such a thing has been done, action will be taken,” he said.Reportedly, some Indian Army commanders have now asked some of the school principals to get back to them with the books so that they could take a look. In the meantime, the Indian army has decided to write to the Education Ministry regarding the issue.

The Indian army has been maintaining that its position vis-à-vis the issue is “very clear” since the army is not a publishing authority. Also, the book was published by a leading publishing house based in Karol Bagh in New Delhi, which means that probably the Education Ministry will take notice. – PT