The state education department on Friday sent a show-cause notice to West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) president Mohua Das for announcing the religion of the topper of the Higher Secondary (Uchcha Madhyamik) examinations at a press conference the day before, said sources.
The government’s reported move came hours after the BJP demanded action against Das. Bengal Imams’ Association president Mohammad Yahiya also criticised the council president, and demanded that she be asked to quit.
It was learnt that Das told her close circle that she wants to step down from her post following the controversy. She told reporters on Friday, “I got carried away while announcing the exam result.”
Lashing out at the council, BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya asked the government to take action against Das. “The council yesterday belittled the merit of the exam topper by announcing her religion. We strongly condemn this. This is not just an insult to the female student but also an insult to an entire community and society as well. The religion of the student cannot be bigger than her achievement. We want to know what is the state government’s position on this? What action has it taken against the council president? Was it done to appease someone or was it done at the instruction of the state government?” he said.
The topper, Murshidabad resident Rumana Sultana, said it would have been better had her religion not been mentioned at the news conference. “I would have preferred if only my name was announced and not my religion,” she added.
State education minister Bratya Basu, however, defended Das, and accused the BJP of politicising the matter. “The BJP is looking for an excuse to turn this matter into a political issue. We do not support it,” he said.