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Bengal School Asks Question on 'Harmful Effect' of 'Jai Shri Ram' Slogans in Exam Paper, Sparks Row

At a school in Hooghly district, class 10 students appearing for the Bengali language paper, were asked to write how the Jai Shri Ram slogan was disrupting the society and how the return of cut money was benefiting people.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:August 9, 2019, 9:20 AM IST
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Bengal School Asks Question on 'Harmful Effect' of 'Jai Shri Ram' Slogans in Exam Paper, Sparks Row
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The ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan and ‘cut money’ that became dominant tropes in the Lok Sabha elections this year, especially in the political discourse of West Bengal, have now found a place in a question paper of a school.

At the Akna Union High School in Hooghly district, 55 km from Kolkata, class 10 students appearing for the Bengali language paper, were asked to write how the Jai Shri Ram slogan was disrupting the society and how the return of cut money, on the other hand, was benefiting people.

In an exam held on August 5, students of the school were asked to write a ‘report for a newspaper’ on any of the two – ‘harmful effects on the society of chanting Jai Shri Ram’ or on the ‘bold step of the government to stop corruption by returning cut money.’

The obvious political overtones of the exam paper has generated furore among BJP leaders, who lashed out at the school authorities, along with the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.

Accusing the school of turning into a mouthpiece of the government, Subir Nag, president of Hooghly district organizational unit of BJP was quoted as saying, “They accuse us of saffronising education, but now the people of the state should see what they are doing. The teachers have become slaves of the ruling party. I don’t have words strong enough to condemn it.”

While no official complaint was lodged, the school decided to cancel the question. “Since, the matter was objected by a section of people, we have decided to cancel these two questions. If anyone attempted to answer it, the student would be given full marks,” headmaster Rohit Pyne told News18. Beyond that, Subhashus Gosh, the teacher who has set the question paper has issued an apology, he added.

Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told party leaders that she had received complaints of ‘cut money’ being demanded even for ‘Samabyathi’ scheme in which a payment of Rs 2,000 is given to poor people to perform the last rites of their family member.

A visibly angry Mamata had said, “You asked for Rs 200 as ‘cut money’ for ‘Samabyathi’ scheme. Some leaders are demanding 25 per cent commission for providing housing grants. I warned all those who are indulged in such practice. Some elderly women are not getting old age pensions. It is very unfortunate. I will soon conduct an inquiry to punish those who are indulged in such malpractice.”

She also expressed her displeasure over ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans in Bengal and alleged the BJP is trying to divide the people on religious grounds.

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