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As protests intensify, government tells UPSC aspirants for patience

Posted on Jul 25 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, July 25 : As hundreds of UPSC aspirants held noisy protests Friday, the Narendra Modi government appealed them to be "patient" about their demand for scrapping the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT) and said "no injustice" will be done to them.

The civil services aspirants held fresh protests in two places in the national capital. When hundreds of students tried to march to parliament, police detained around 300 of them. On Thursday violent student protests

Police said one student tried to pour kerosene on himself at Mukherjee Nagar in north Delhi, but was saved before he could lit the matchstick.

The protests also inconvenienced thousands of commuters as the Delhi Metro shut two of its busy stations - Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan - for more than two hours.

Seeing the aggressive mood of the protesting students, Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances Jitendra Singh made a statement in the Rajya Sabha.

He said a three-member committee was constituted in March last year and has been directed to submit its report in a week's time.

"The candidates will not suffer and the issuance of admit cards should not be a worry," the minister said in the house.

The reaction followed protests by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) aspirants, which turned violent Thursday with students burning a bus, a police van and a motor-bike in Mukherjee Nagar. As many as 20 people have been arrested.

Jitendra Singh, who met Modi to appraise him of the situation, tried to assure the students and said that the government was taking the matter seriously.

But the opposition was not satisfied with the minister's response.

The opposition continued to protest and the upper house was adjourned till 2.30 p.m.

Earlier, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice during the question hour following the opposition's demand for a clarification by none other than the prime minister or Leader of the House on the issue.

The matter figured in the Lok Sabha too though it did not lead to any adjournment.

"This is not just an issue of Hindi, but all regional languages," Congress member of the Lok Sabha Ranjeet Ranjan said. Members expressed their concern in the upper house as well.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh said that the Congress was ready to fight for UPSC aspirants both inside and outside Parliament.

Jitendra Singh, talking to reporters outside parliament earlier, said: "The government has full sympathy with the students."

"There won't be any injustice, especially on the basis on language. However, students must also show some patience," the minister said.

"The government has sympathy and also has the clarity that there shouldn't be any injustice with the students," he added.

He said the government was waiting for a report on the matter and will take decision only for the good of students.

"I assure you that within one week we have sought the report of the committee... Today I have again told the Committee to give the report within one week. As the report comes, further action will follow," the minister said.

"We would also like to request and appeal to the students to maintain calm as the government too is worried about the issue. The decisions will be taken on the basis of the committee's report," added Singh.

The minister has also assured that issuing of admit cards does not indicate that it would influence the report of the three-member committee.

Civil services aspirants have been demanding the scrapping of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), calling it discriminatory for the students from humanities and Hindi backgrounds.

The CSAT-II paper carries questions on comprehension, interpersonal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision-making and problem-solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy, and English language comprehension skills (of Class 10 level).

Students have been objecting to the level of aptitude and English language questions being asked in the CSAT II paper, claiming they are much above the standard prescribed for the examination.

The protest intensified after UPSC started issuing admit cards to the aspirants for the preliminary exam scheduled to be held Aug 24.

"We will continue our protest until we get a written assurance that the examination date will be extended and the CSAT exam will be scrapped," Anurag Chaturvedi, an aspirant, told IANS.

He added the students have wasted a lot of time because of the ongoing protests and cannot prepare for the Aug 20 examination in 25 days.

Another aspirant, R.V. Yadav added: "Hindi is our national language and it is being sidelined."

"Our protest will continue till the demands are met. Police can't stop us," said Rajesh Mishra, an aspirant, as the police forced him inside a bus.

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