Education ministry seeks factual report from WB govt on ‘Azad Kashmir’ question in model test paper

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NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Education has asked for a factual report from the West Bengal government on a class 10 model question paper asking students to mark “Azad Kashmir” in a map, sources said on Wednesday.

“The ministry has taken a serious view of news reports on the model question paper for class 10 examination 2022-23 of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education asking the students to identify ‘Azad Kashmir’ on India’s map,” a source said.

“The ministry has asked for a factual report along with an Action Taken Report from the Education Department of West Bengal in connection with the test paper,” the source added.

A political row had erupted in West Bengal on Tuesday after the image of the class 10 model question paper went viral on social media, with the opposition BJP claiming it to be a “jihadi conspiracy” and the ruling TMC in the state terming it a mistake that it does not support.

In the question paper, issued in an exercise book of a Bengali-medium school for Madhyamik aspirants, the paper setter has asked them to identify several places on the map—Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (referred to as ‘Azad Kashmir’ in Pakistan), the place where Gandhiji had first undertaken the Satyagraha movement, and the Chittagong battleground.

West Bengal Board of Secondary Education president Ramanuj Ganguly had conceded that the “goof-up” took place in the test paper published by the autonomous body, adding that action was being taken against those responsible for the mistake.

Union Minister of Education for State, Subhas Sarkar on Tuesday said the incident, if true, could be attributed to “appeasement politics of the TMC-run government which has emboldened some people to insert a question with anti-national overtones in the test paper”.