The Trinamool Congress on Monday took out rallies across West Bengal to protest against the central government’s alleged bias against regional languages in conducting Joint Entrances Examinations (Main) examination for admission to engineering colleges. Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee last week had announced that her party would hold state-wide protests on this issue on November 11.
It all started after the National Testing Agency announced that the JEE (Main) exam question paper would be provided in Gujarati apart from English and Hindi, as the state of Gujarat had requested for it back in 2013 and no other states had asked for it. Mamata Banerjee slammed the Central Government alleging that it had a bias against other regional languages.
"I have no objection for the Gujarati language as I love all the languages. But my question is why the exam will not be held in other regional languages? Our Education Minister Partha Chatterjee had earlier sent a letter asking the HRD Ministry to hold the exam in Bengali. I don’t know whether they have received the letter or not" said Mamata Banerjee. Professing her love for all languages, she said she questioned why other languages we're left out and states were not consulted on this issue.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) which conducts the examination dismissed the charges and especially her charge that the states were not consulted over the issue. The agency on Friday clarified that it made the paper available only in Gujarati as no other state had shown interest in the proposal sent years back in 2013.
"Bengali which is the second-most widely spoken language in the country after Hindi, has been left out," said TMC MP and nephew of Mamata Banerjee, Abhishek Banerjee who was seen leading the protest in the heart of the city at Mayo Road on Monday. The MP also stated that even though they have 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha against 303 of the BJP, they will ensure that Bengali gets listed as one of the languages for JEE (Mains) exams.
Lashing out at TMC taking out a protest even after NTA gave its clarification, Bengal BJP's senior leader Sishir Bajoria called it TMC's 'drama'. "TMC and its Yuvraj are trying to hide their own mistakes. Now they raise the question of Bengali. A few months back in Dinajpur, when there were demands for Bengali teachers, it's the Mamata Banerjee who sent Urdu tutors. Students had protested against it and police fired which led to two deaths. This is nothing but TMC's drama", said Bajoria.