Kashmir education officials accused of ‘sedition’ over textbook
Police in Indian Kashmir have registered a case of sedition against six state education officials over a school textbook that they say depicts the police as tyrants.
A police official, who declined to be identified, told AFP Tuesday that the complaint charged the head of the state education board, Sheikh Bashir Ahmed, and five other officials with “sedition, criminal conspiracy and defamation”.
The textbook is an Urdu alphabet primer that illustrates the letter “zoi” with the word “zalim” meaning tyrant — and an accompanying sketch of a man in uniform holding a bamboo truncheon.
The police official said the drawing was clearly meant to be that of a policeman.
Ahmed said action had been taken to erase the illustration, even though he denied the suggestion that it depicted a member of the police force.
“We have sent officials to schools to put a black seal on the illustration as we don’t want to hurt anybody’s sentiments,” Ahmed told reporters.
Anger at the security forces runs deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir, where a separatist insurgency against Indian rule that began in 1989 has claimed more than 47,000 lives, according to official figures.
In 2010, police and paramilitary forces were accused of killing 110 protesters during some of the biggest anti-India demonstrations in the region for years.