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JEE latest flashpoint with Centre, TMC to hold protests across Bengal

NTA dismisses CM’s charge, says only Gujarat, Maharashtra sent them request

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: November 8, 2019 5:55:40 am
Mamata Banerjee, TMC party office in Kolkata, jee main exams, kolkata news Mamata Banerjee addresses party workers at party office in Kolkata, Thursday. Express

Upping the ante against the Centre over alleged discrimination of regional languages in conducting JEE (Main), West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced to hold protest rallies across the state on November 11. This on a day, National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the examination, dismissed her charges that the states were not consulted over the issue.

Reiterating her Wednesday’s remark, Mamata said, “Recently, the HRD Ministry said that the JEE Main would also be held in Gujarati, besides in English and Hindi. 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. But the education policy is being changed.”

Announcing her party’s plan to protest against this move, she said, “JEE Main should be held in other regional languages, including Bengali. It should be held in Tamil, Odia, Bhojpuri and other languages. On November 11, there will be protest rallies across the state to demand the inclusion of Bengali language in the JEE main examination. I will also appeal to other states to do the same for their own languages.”

The Chief Minister also said that the Centre should have informed the states that they have to recommend their languages for inclusion in the JEE Main. “Why the Marathi language has been left out? Nobody knows that every state has to write (for the inclusion of its language). How do we know what is in their mind? We are not God. They should have informed the state governments. This is a discriminatory attitude towards all languages except one or two,” she said, hinting at Gujarat nativity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Recalling how a row had erupted after Shah pitched for Hindi as a common language, Mamata said India is a vast country and there are many languages, caste, creed and religion. “But one thing must be remembered that we are united, we are together because ultimately a united India is our motto,” she said.

The NTA, however, clarified that though requests were sent to all states, only Gujarat and Maharashtra agreed to admit candidates in their engineering colleges through JEE (Main).

“The JEE (Main) Examination started in 2013 with the idea of all states admitting their engineering candidates through JEE (Main). The request was sent to all the states in the year 2013 itself,” the NTA said in a press release.

It said initially only Gujarat agreed to admit candidates to the state’s engineering colleges through JEE (Main) and requested that question papers be made available in the Gujarati language.

In 2014, Maharashtra also opted for admitting the candidates through JEE and requested that question papers be provided in Marathi and Urdu.

In 2016, both these states withdrew the admission to the state engineering colleges through JEE (Main). Therefore, the translation in Marathi and Urdu languages was stopped. However, the translation in the Gujarati language continued at the request of Gujarat, it said.

“None of the other states has approached NTA to provide the JEE (Main) question paper in any other Indian national language,” the release read.

The notification of JEE 2020 states that candidates will have to opt language of question paper while filling up the online application form. For all “centre cities”, the languages of question papers will be in English and Hindi. But for the “centre cities” in Gujarat, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the languages should be English, Hindi and Gujarati, the notification stated.

Gujarat CM calls Mamata ‘Divider Didi’

Slamming Mamata Banerjee’s objection over the engineering entrance examination JEE being conducted ‘only’ in Gujarati besides English and Hindi, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday dubbed her “Divider Didi”.

Taking to Twitter, Rupani also posted a link of a clarification issued by the National Testing Agency on the objection raised by the West Bengal Chief Minister. “Dear #DividerDidi, people of your state need development not such divisive stunts. Now that the facts are out, you should apologise to the people for your lies!,” Rupani tweeted.

— With PTI inputs from Delhi, Ahmedabad

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