The Jammu and Kashmir government lashed out on Saturday at Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat over his remarks about schools in the state, saying the ‘well-decorated officer’ should not give sermons on issues that are not in his domain.
The state government’s retort was in response to Rawat’s statement that schools in the state were teaching two maps — India’s and Jammu and Kashmir’s — to the students, which he said was radicalising youth.
Rawat’s statement was criticised on social media with many pointing out that students in all schools in the country are taught two maps, the country’s and the state’s.
“The army chief is a respected and well-decorated officer of this country. He is a professional. I have no doubt on his professionalism. But I don’t think he is an educationist that he will give sermons on education,” state education minister Altaf Bukhari said.
“I don’t think any society accepts sermons on education from non-academicians,” he added.
Bukhari said education was a state subject and “we know how to run our education system”.
“There are two flags, we have a state constitution (owing to the state’s special status), and maps are in every state. Every school in every state has a state map because you explain it to them,” Bukhari said.
“Separatism would not be anywhere” if army does its job well, he said.
“I will be very happy if they do what they are supposed to do and leave us what we are supposed to do. They have a responsibility. Let them do their responsibility (sic). If they do their job well, all problems will be solved,” Bukhari added.
Addressing the media on the eve of Army Day on Friday, Bipin Rawat had linked the two-flag issue with militancy.
“…Why do we need a separate map for J&K? What does it teach the children? Most misguided youth come from schools where they are being radicalised,” he had said.
The army chief had also said that some control has to be exercised over madrassas and mosques that “spread misinformation”.
Bukhari said there was no harm in getting education from madrassas. “Education has its own domains. Madrassas also give education. There is no harm. Education is education. People go to China to learn,” the minister said.