The education board of India’s Bihar state has apparently ‘recognised’ that Kashmir is not a part of India, but a separate country, The Times of India reported.
A question paper prepared by the state board for class-VII students across all government schools asked them to name what the people of five countries — China, Nepal, England, Kashmir and India — were called.
The examinations commenced on October 5 and ended on Wednesday. They were conducted under the Centre’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which is overseen in the state by the Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC), a wing of the state education department.
A student of Vaishali district pointed out the “error” on Tuesday. When asked about it, Vaishali district education officer Sangeeta Sinha said, “I was on leave and have just resumed work. I will have to look into the matter,” she told The Times of India over the phone on Tuesday.
BEPC state programme officer Prem Chandra, however, knew about the “gaffe”. “It’s very embarrassing, I admit,” he said and called it a printing error.
Sources in the education department said the question papers for the BEPC examinations are prepared centrally though they are printed at multiple locations.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 but both claim the territory in its entirety.
Separatist groups have fought for decades roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the disputed territory, demanding independence or merger of the Himalayan region with Pakistan.
Tens of thousands, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.