West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday criticised the Narendra Modi government for the lack of regional language options for candidates appearing for the Indian Institute of Technology’s Joint Entrance Examination.
The Central Board of Secondary Education had added Urdu, Marathi and Gujarati in 2014, according to PTI. However, in 2016, it dropped Marathi and Urdu and retained only Gujarati. In 2019, the newly formed National Testing Agency took over from the CBSE the responsibility to hold the exam. According to a report in The Telegraph, Gujarati will be dropped from 2021.
“Joint Entrance Exams so long were conducted in English and Hindi languages,” tweeted the Trinamool Congress president. “Surprisingly, now only Gujarati language has been added. Such a step is not at all praiseworthy.”
Banerjee said she loves Gujarati. “But, why have other regional languages been ignored?” she asked. “Why injustice is being meted out to them? If Gujarati has to be there, then all regional languages including Bengali must be there.”
Banerjee warned of “strong protests” everywhere in the country if the Modi government does not address the matter. While India is home to many languages, cultures, and religions, “maligning all regions and regional languages is the intention of the government at the centre”, she alleged.
The chief minister’s nephew Abhijeet Banerjee had also tweeted about this on Tuesday, calling “linguistic discrimination” unconstitutional.
The IIT-JEE is an annual engineering entrance examination conducted for admission to various engineering colleges in India. It comprises of the JEE Main exam and the JEE Advanced exam. In 2020, the exams will be held from January 6 to January 11.
According to the exam notification for 2020, question papers at all “centre cities” will be available in English and Hindi. But in Gujarat, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the exam the additional option of Gujarati will be provided to students.