A row erupts as the Bihar school exam paper mentions Kashmir as a separate country; controlled probe

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A row erupted on Wednesday when an exam for class 7 students in public schools in three districts mentioned Kashmir as a separate country and asked students: “What are the people of Kashmir called?” The incident happened on October 12.

Bihar Education Minister Chandrasekhar Singh ensured an investigation into the incident saying, “This is a serious matter which needs to be investigated even if it involves senior officials. There would be no gaps in the investigation of this case and it would be thorough.

The question was posed in the social science paper of the biannual examination organized by the Bihar Education Project Board (BEPC), which is an independent body under the state Department of Education. Students from the border districts of Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar had the question in their exam. The question “What are the names of the inhabitants of the following countries?” asked students to write the name used for people who live in Nepal, England, Kashmir and India.

Kishanganj District Education Officer Subhash Kumar Gupta, however, admitted that it was “human error and was communicated to BEPC”. A BEPC official, however, said “it appears that the question writers had not applied their spirit”. PEBC, he added, issued a show cause notice to the questioners.

BJP State Chairman Sanjay Jaiswal posted a photo of the question paper on his social media account and said, “Bihar government is still silent on my concern that Kashmir is not part of India. The question itself shows that Bihar government officials view Kashmir as a different country like Nepal, England and China. The BJP also called it a “conspiracy” and demanded action against those who drafted the questionnaire.

Reacting to Mr Jasiwal’s comments, Mr Singh asked, “Why didn’t you ask questions when Prime Minister Modi called Taksh Shila who is in Pakistan, part of Bihar? It was as legitimate a human error as the one that has been committed today”.

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