NEW DELHI: A question purportedly in a class 6 exam asking whether Dalits are untouchables has sparked a controversy in Tamil Nadu, with the paper going viral on social media.
Though the question paper was being circulated on the Internet as linked to one of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan schools, the KVS termed the paper fake, and the Central Board of Secondary Education said it has no role in setting question papers for internal exams.
"Shocked and appalled to see that a Class 6 Kendriya Vidyalaya exam contains questions that propagate caste discrimination and communal division. Those who are responsible for drafting this Question Paper must be prosecuted under appropriate provisions of law," Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president Stalin said in a tweet.
Shocked and appalled to see that a Class 6 Kendriya Vidyalaya exam contains questions that propagate caste discrimination and communal division.— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) September 7, 2019
Those who are responsible for drafting this Question Paper must be prosecuted under appropriate provisions of law.@HRDMinistry pic.twitter.com/kddu8jdbN7
The multiple-choice question asked "what does the word Dalit' means" and the listed options included foreigners, untouchables, upper class and middle class.
AMMK leader TTV Dinakaran issued a statement lashing out at CBSE saying, "I strongly condemn the CBSE for having a lesson on a sensitive topic without basic understanding on how it would impact the minds of the students".
"It is wrong to ask questions in this manner to young children. It sets a bad precedent. Action should be taken against people who have done this," he added.
The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan said it has noticed the fake question paper being circulated on social media claiming it to be of some Kendriya Vidyalaya in Tamil Nadu or Puducherry.
"However no evidence has so far been brought to the notice of KVS which may establish that the question paper belongs to a Kendriya Vidyalaya," it said in a statement.
The CBSE said it does not set question papers for internal exams in "any class for any school".
"It only conducts board exams for class 10 and 12. The said references to CBSE are therefore found incorrect and unfounded," a senior board official said.
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan also said its RO has reported that none of 49 KVs of Chennai region has prepared such questions.
"It is therefore to clarify that the said Question Paper is NOT related to any Kendriya Vidyalaya. Social media users are requested to refrain from spreading misleading messages."