PATNA: In a major stuff up by Bihar education department, Kashmir has been printed as a separate country to India.
A question paper which was designed by the education board for grade 7 students, included a question asking the students to name what the people of five countries — China, Nepal, England, Kashmir and India —are called. The question paper was circulated across all government schools.
Giving a very implausible explanation, the Bihar Education Project Council has called it a printing error.
The Indian media had a field day.
“According to experts in the Bihar education department, Kashmir is not a part of India but a separate country. A question paper prepared by the state board for class VII students across all government schools asked them to name what the people of five countries — China, Nepal, England, Kashmir and India —are called…” said a media report in TOI.
“The exams are being conducted under the Centre’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which is overseen in the state by the Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC), a wing of the state education department.”, it added.
But people smelt the rat. Sreenivasa Rao Ketepalle was quoted as saying:
Is it printing error? You set it, compose it, proofread it and finally print it. Who inserts a word like ”Kashmir” in the paper unless there is a conspiracy by an insider to humiliate the country? …
According to TOI, a student of Vaishali district pointed out the error. When asked about it, Vaishali district education officer Sangeeta Sinha said, “I was on leave and have just resumed work. I will have to look into the matter,” she said.
Although some maps of India produced by people not siding with India, show parts of Kashmir as disputed territory and not an integral part of India, India has always claimed Kashmir to be an integral part of India and well under its control.
The stuff-up has embarrassed Bihar Education department.
BEPC state programme officer Prem Chandra, however, knew about the gaffe. “It’s very embarrassing, I admit,” he said and called it a printing error. Sources in the education department said the question papers for the BEPC examinations are prepared centrally though they are printed at multiple locations.