New Delhi, November 7: Reacting to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's criticism over the inclusion of Gujarati as an optional language in Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main test, the National Testing Agency (NTA) said that only the state of Gujarat had approached them. The NTA, which took over JEE Main test in 2019, said that no other state had sought to provide question paper in any other Indian national language. Mamata Banerjee on WhatsApp Snooping Row: 'Your Phones Are Tapped, Mine Landline Too; What Should We Do? Seal Lips With Leukoplast?'.
In 2013 when JEE Main test started, all states were requested to admit their candidates in State Engineering Colleges through the examination. "Only the Gujarat State agreed to admit their candidates in State Engineering Colleges of Gujarat through JEE (Main) and requested that the JEE (Main) paper be made available in Gujarati language," the NTA said in a statement. On Maharashtra's request, Marathi and Urdu languages were included later.
However, in 2016 both Maharashtra and Gujarat withdrew the admission to State Engineering Colleges through JEE Main examination. "However, the translation of JEE (Main) question paper in Gujarati language continued on the request of Gujarat State. None of the other States have approached NTA to provide the JEE (Main) question paper in any other Indian National Language," said the agency.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Mamata Banerjee accused the Modi government of "maligning" and "meting out injustices" to other regional languages. "Joint Entrance Exams so long were conducted in English and Hindi languages. Surprisingly, now only Gujarati language has been added. Such a step is not at all praiseworthy," she tweeted. Banerjee said she loved the Gujarati language, but questioned why other regional languages have been ignored.
"Why injustice is being meted out to them? If Gujarati has to be there, then all regional languages, including Bengali, must be there," she said. Banerjee argued that sentiments of people who speak other regional languages would be "deeply hurt". "Unless this issue is decided gracefully, there will be strong protests all around as sentiments of people who speak other regional languages would be deeply hurt due to this injustice," she said in another tweet.