Amid criticism, state Government withdraws order relating to Bhagwad Geeta and Ramayan

Aasif Suhaf, Jammu, Oct 23: Jammu and Kashmir government has withdrawn a controversial circular that had asked the education department to provide the Urdu version of Bhagwad Gita and Ramayana in schools and other educational institutions in the state. The Director School Education Department was directed to procure “sufficient number of copies” of Bhagwad Geeta and Ramayan’s Urdu translation in schools, colleges, and public libraries.The order was withdrawn on the directions of State Chief Secretary BVR Subramaniyam. The circular had asked the School Education department, the Higher Education department, directors of colleges and libraries and the Culture department to consider purchasing a sufficient number of copies of the Urdu version of the Gita and the Ramayana, authored by Sarwanand Premi.The circular had generated opposition from various quarters, with former chief minister Omar Abdullah questioning the decision to ignore the books of other religions. "Why just the Gita & Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, colleges & 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?," the National Conference leader had said in a tweet.A government spokesman in a statement said, “The Communication No: Edu/Genl/35/2013 dated: 22-10-2018 issued by the School Education Department to the Director School Education Kashmir/Jammu has been withdrawn ab-initio on the directions of the Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam.”The order issued on October, 22, 2018 reads: “The School Education Department, Higher Education Department, Director Colleges, Director Libraries and Culture Department will consider purchasing sufficient number of copies each of Urdu version of “Shrimad Bhagwat-Geeta” and “Koshur Ramayan” authored by Shri Sarwanand Premi for making these available in Schools/ Colleges and public libraries etc. of the State.”Earlier, former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had questioned the selective move while netizens had also criticized the order.Omar tweeted, “Why just the Gita & Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, collages & 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?”There was harsh reaction and queries from various muslim religious scholars and Ulema on the government order, that went viral on social media networking sites. The controversial order had made headlines in local newspapers in Kashmir.With Agencies