Centre seeks state’s report on ‘Azad Kashmir’ question in Bengal’s test-paper

A day after a row erupted in Bengal over the recently-released compilation of test-papers for secondary examination released by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Examination (WBBSE) having a question on ‘Azad Kashmir’, the Centre on Wednesday sought an explanatory report from the state government on this count.

WBBSE releases the test-paper compilation every year, which contains Class 10 final test examination (pre-board) questions of some leading schools. The compilation acts as a suggestion for the candidates appearing for the Class 10 board exams.

However, page 132 of this year’s test-paper carried a question paper of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Vidyamandir, Malda, with a question that asks the students to point out ‘Azad Kashmir’ on the map.

Sources in the state government said that a communique from the Union Education Ministry has reached the state secretariat, seeking an explanatory note from the West Bengal education department on this count.

In the communique, it has been stated that the matter of ‘Azad Kashmir’ is an extremely sensitive issue and the Union government does not recognise ‘Pakistan occupied Kashmir’ as ‘Azad Kashmir’.

“The Education Ministry has sought clarification from the state government as to how such a sensitive issue managed to find a place in the test-paper,” said a state education department official, who refused to be named.

Meanwhile, sensing the gravity of the matter, the state education department has already initiated an internal probe into the matter. Sources said that a total of nine teachers have been identified and cautioned in the matter by the WBBSE.

Out of the nine teachers cautioned, six are members of the board’s history syllabus committee.

A letter of caution has also been forwarded to the headmaster of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Vidyamandir, whose question paper carrying the controversial question on ‘Azad Kashmir’ featured in the test-paper.

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