Opposition The Raijor Dal (RD) and Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) labelled the State government’s decision to eliminate the compulsory language paper in state civil service examinations as “dangerous,” claiming it was done to bring in “RSS-minded” persons from outside.
The two political parties declared they will not accept the Assam Cabinet’s decision and demanded its immediate removal at separate press conferences.
What does the opposition say?
“The Cabinet decision is a sad development for Assam. It is a dangerous step. It will make Hindi-speaking people from the RSS and north India eligible for the Assam civil services exam. The BJP government aims to bring such people into the state administration,” President of the RD, Akhil Gogoi, stated.
He said that during the previous BJP government in Assam, a teacher from Bihar was recruited to a school in Majuli despite the fact that he did not speak Assamese.
“We cannot accept people from outside the state to appear for APSC exams. We strongly oppose the Cabinet decision ,” Mr. Gogoi stated the following.
AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi echoed similar sentiments, claiming that the government took steps to attract Hindi and Bengali-speaking people from outside the state through the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) examinations.
“It is a self-destructive decision by the government.” He said, “This government had once said that the Assamese language would be made compulsory.”
Bharat Narah, a senior Congress leader and MLA from the Naoboicha constituency, spoke to the media on Friday and urged that the Cabinet’s decision be withdrawn within 72 hours.
Narah slammed the Assam government’s decision, claiming that all states in the country had made language papers mandatory for civil service exam candidates. Candidates must take the UPSC exam in one of the 22 languages listed in the Eight Schedule. “However, we fail to fathom why the Assam government has taken such a decision”.
“People need to know why or for whom the government, which had earlier pledged to safeguard the jati-mati-bheti (community, land and base) and had even made Assamese compulsory till Class 10 in schools, had taken such a move,” he said.
Protest against the decision
Meanwhile, three MLAs from another Opposition party, the AIUDF, led a protest on Friday over the state Cabinet’s decision to eliminate the language paper from the APSC exam.
AIUDF MLAs Rafikul Islam, Aminul Islam, and Ashraful Hussain staged a protest in front of the Assam Legislative Assembly’s main entrance, claiming that the BJP government had disrespected the language and culture by making the decision, much as it had done when it proposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
When and why was the decision taken?
The Assam Cabinet decided on Wednesday to eliminate the qualifying language paper for the State civil services examinations, subject to three conditions: a candidate must be a resident of Assam, his or her name must be registered in the state employment exchange, and the candidate must be fluent in Assamese or other recognised Assamese languages.
Following the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma indicated that recognised languages will include Bodo, Bengali, or any other tribal language of the state, as well as Hindi, which is spoken by a large number of people in Assam.
Except for individuals from Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, the APSC Rules were changed in 2019 to require applicants to take a compulsory language qualifying paper in Assamese or related languages, Bodo or Bengali.
Following this, the Manipuri community in Barak Valley petitioned the government to exempt them from taking the qualifying examination. Following that, the government issued an order exempting all applicants from Barak Valley from taking the qualifying exam.
The Brahmaputra Valley candidates then challenged this in the Gauhati High Court, and the issue is currently unresolved. The APSC was given permission to perform preliminary tests this year by the court, but the case is still pending.