Parliament witnessed high drama over UPSC row on Friday, while Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice, several Lok Sabha MPs slammed the central government for the lathicharge at the protesters. Opposition parties pressured the NDA-led government to take the matter seriously.
Senior Congress leader Rajeev Shukla stressed, "UPSC issue is a very serious issue. I condemn the lathicharge on students. The government should take some firm action to resolve the issue, amicably at the earliest."
He was responding to media queries outside Parliament.
As civil service aspirants scaled up their protests, Government on Friday said it will not allow any injustice to students on the basis of language in UPSC exams after the issue rocked Parliament where the Opposition demanded a solution within a clear timeframe.
The Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh sought to calm frayed tempers in Parliament, saying the government is looking at the issue with "all seriousness" and sensitivity and that a three-member panel set up in this regard was again asked today to submit its report within a week.
"Government is not in favour of any injustice to students on the basis of language," Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha which was adjourned twice during Question Hour following Opposition's demand for a clarification by none other than the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House on the issue.
Members, cutting across party lines, demanded a timeline for resolution of the issue and raised concerns over falling success rate of language students in UPSC exam. Singh while speaking to reporters appealed to the aspirants to be "patient", saying the government and the Prime Minister are more concerned than the agitating students and are trying to find a "satisfactory solution." Sharad Yadav (JD-U) alleged in the Rajya Sabha that language students are facing discrimination in UPSC exams while SP's Mulayam Singh Yadav asked the Speaker in the Lok Sabha to allow a discussion on the issue.
The aspirants are protesting against the pattern of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in the UPSC exams that they believe gives an unfair advantage to English-speaking students while leaving Hindi and regional language aspirants at a disadvantage. They want the CSAT to be scrapped. The protesting aspirants, some of whom carried playcards decrying the UPSC, were stopped from marching to Parliament which was in session.
The protests were intensified afteer the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) issued admit cards on Thursday for the preliminary entrance exam scheduled on August 24. The aspirants agitating against 'language discrimination' tried to march towards Parliament but were stopped by the police which later took them into preventive custody.
The protestors, who had clashed with the police last night in North Delhi, were stopped outside Central Secretariat metro station from where they were taken to Parliament Street Police Station. "We have detained around 150 protesters. Necessary preventive action will be taken if needed," said a senior Delhi Police official.
Two metro stations--Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhavan --were shut briefly to prevent the protesters from reaching anywhere near Parliament House. The protesters claimed that the current format discriminates against those who are not proficient in English.
"We have got assurances in the past but nothing happened. On Thursday, we were issued our admit cards and now on 24th (of August) we have our papers. We want something to be done immediately," said a protester.