Opposition Congress and CPI-M today submitted a joint representation to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar urging him to take appropriate steps to secure the inclusion of Bengali as a medium of examination for the Joint Entrance Examination 2020 Main Examination. Mr Abdul Mannan Leader of the Opposition, West Bengal Legislative Assembly and Mr Sujan Chakraborty, Leader of the Left Front Legislature Party, West Bengal Legislative Assembly today submitted the letter to Mr Dhankhar.

On 8 November, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had criticised the Centre for adding Gujarati as a medium for JEE (Mains) and asked why all other regional languages, including Bengali, should not be included as well. Following this, the Trinamul Congress took out rallies in protest across the state. In a statement issued from Raj Bhawan today, Mr Dhankhar “indicated that the Department of Higher Education, Govt of West Bengal, vide their Letter No. 218- Secy-HED/2013 dated 10 October 2013 responded indicating that the State of West Bengal will not participate in the JEE Main Examination.”

A similar clarification was issued by the the National Testing Agency (NTA) earlier wherein it had claimed that none of the other states had approached it to provide the JEE (Main) question paper in any other Indian national language. Mr Dhankar responded to the representation after securing inputs from the concerned authorities. He has indicated to the leaders that the entire situation needs to be appreciated as it has been generated on account of categorical communication that emanated from the State of West Bengal on 10 October, 2013, for a positive way forward approach, so that the issue may be addressed affirmatively, the statement read.

“The State of West Bengal needs to take steps at their end and that this has been reflected by the Governor through media also few days back. He has assured the leaders that he would take all steps that may be required at his end to ensure that no injustice is done either to the State of West Bengal or to the rich Bengali language,” it further added. Clarifying its stand, NTA had issued a release earlier that read: “in 2013 a request was sent to all states asking if they wanted to admit students to state engineering colleges through JEE (Mains).

Only Gujarat 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. Further, in 2014 Maharashtra State also opted for admitting the Engineering candidates in the State Engineering Colleges through JEE (Main). Maharashtra requested to provide the question paper in Marathi and Urdu. In 2016 both these States withdrew the admission to the State Engineering Colleges through JEE (Main).

“Therefore, the translation in Marathi and Urdu language was stopped. However, the translation of JEE (Main) question paper in Gujarati language continued on the request of Gujarat. None of the other states have approached NTA to provide the JEE (Main) question paper in any other Indian National Language.”