The Railways on Monday reinstated Malayalam in the list of languages that applicants can choose as the medium of examination in a recruitment drive. The decision followed protests from candidates and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan demanding that aspirants be allowed to write the exam in Malayalam as well.

“It has been decided that the questions in regional languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Odia, Telugu, Bangla and others will be available for candidates to take the exam,” the Railways said in a statement, according to PTI.

A Railway Ministry notification issued on February 10 listed Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Odia and Bengali among the languages that candidates can choose as their medium of examination. The candidates can also choose English, Hindi and Urdu, it had said.

Candidates from the Southern Railways zone were allowed to choose Tamil or Telugu, but not Malayalam, even though the Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad divisions of Kerala are part of the region. Candidates have until March 12 to submit their applications.

“The decision to take Malayalam off the list of regional languages for the recruitment exam for group D posts in the Railways will prove to be a great injustice to Kerala and its people,” Vijayan had said on Sunday. “This will result in a huge loss of opportunities for many applicants from the state.”

On Saturday, MB Rajesh, an MP of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), had called the exclusion “highly provocative, totally unjustifiable and an extremely unacceptable act”. He had added that this was a deliberate conspiracy against candidates from Kerala.