KOLKATA: In politically charged West Bengal, ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘cut money’ made their way into school exams recently, sparking a controversy. A Bangla language question paper for Class X at Akna Union High School at Polba in Hooghly district asked the students to answer one of the two questions — whether the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan is having a negative impact on our society or if the ‘cut money’ refund is a positive decision taken by the West Bengal government.
The school authorities noticed the politically loaded questions when the test paper before the secondary board exams for Class X students was underway on Thursday.
“The exam started at 2 pm and it was scheduled to be over at 3.45 pm. When we came to know about it, only five minutes were left and many students had already written the answers. We cancelled the two questions and decided to give all the students, including those who did not answer the questions, average marks,” said Rohit Kumar Pyne, teacher in-charge of the school.
The students were asked to answer the question in 150 words. Pyne admitted that selecting the two questions was a wrong decision. “The questions were selected by Bangla language teacher Subhasish Ghosh. I was not aware of the questions selected for Class X students,” said Pyne.
When contacted, Ghosh refused to say anything in this regard. But a political row has erupted over the matter.
The school is located in Trinamool-dominated Akna gram panchayat. Nirmal Ghosh, deputy head of the panchayat, said, “Schoolchildren should not have been asked to answer such political questions.”
BJP’s organisational president in Hooghly, Subir Nag, said, “It was not a mistake. The two questions were selected deliberately. A section of teachers in the school is acting at the behest of the ruling party and dividing students politically. This is unacceptable and we will take up the issue with higher authorities of the school education department.”
Parents of some students of the school also staged a demonstration in front of the institution on Thursday demanding action against Ghosh.