PATNA: Even as a question asked in Class 7 examination of a Kishanganj school in Bihar identifying Kashmir as a country sparked a major row in the political circles, the state education minister has ordered an inquiry into the ‘glaring mistake’ on the part of the paper setter.
State education minister Chandrashekhar told the media persons that he has asked the district magistrate of Kishanganj to inquire into the incident and report the matter at the earliest. He asserted that stern action would be taken against the person responsible for setting this question in examination.
In the said examination, the students in their English paper were asked what the people of five countries- China, Nepal, England, Kashmir and India- are called.
Surprisingly, the same question was asked in the school examination at Vaishali in 2017 and at that time also it had generated a row in the political circles.
Bihar BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal took to his social media and shared the image of the question paper alongside captioning it as: “…Nitish Kumar is so restless with his desire to become the Prime Minister that they are inflicting anti-national question papers on the children of class 7.”
BJP Kishanganj district president Sushant Gope said, “This is an attempt to give air to the politics of appeasement of the Mahagathbandhan. There is an attempt to show Kashmir and India apart in the minds of children. It is not a mistake, it is part of Nitish Kumar’s conspiracy to gain political mileage before the upcoming elections.”
The education minister, however, said this issue should not be given any political colour as it is simply a mistake on the part of a paper setter. Such mistakes occur at times and the government has already initiated steps for rectifying the mistake and punishing the guilty, he said.
Taking a dig at the hue and cry being raised by BJP leaders on this issue, the minister asked what did they do when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had clubbed both Nalanda and Taxila as part of Bihar.
School authorities clarified the question paper was set by the Bihar Education Project Council for government schools. The original question was “What are people from Kashmir called?”, but what went on the question paper was a misprint due to human error.
Kishanganj district education officer Subhash Gupta said that the state education department has been conducting mid-term examinations for the students of classes one to eight, which continued from October 12 till October 18.
Question papers at the headquarters at Patna and a district have no role to play. The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) sets question papers and the overall responsibility rests with BEPC. “It is just a human error,” he said.