The Madhya Pradesh assembly was disrupted on Tuesday over a Class 12 board test paper asking students to write a Hindi essay on the dangers caste-based reservation poses to the country, weeks after pro-quota movements turned violent in Haryana and Gujarat.
The House was adjourned twice amid heated arguments between legislators, with the Congress seeking a debate while the ruling BJP said the opposition party was trying to run away from other important issues.
Congress MLA Ramniwas Rawat asked for an adjournment motion to discuss the question in the Class 12 Hindi exam of the state board. The paper gave candidates the choice to write a 200-word essay on one of five topics.
Among them was the theme, ‘caste-based reservation is dangerous for the country’.
The controversy comes on the heels of Jat protests, where members of the community were demanding job and education quotas similar to those provided to disadvantaged castes, burning houses and vehicles, vandalising businesses and allegedly even sexually assaulting women in Haryana.
The turmoil echoed violence that engulfed Gujarat last year over reservation demands by the Patel community that left several people dead.
Congress members in the Madhya Pradesh assembly alleged that the BJP wants to end caste-based reservation in the state’s secondary education board, which, they said, is unconstitutional.
The BJP called the rival party “anti-farmer”, saying it was shying away from discussing the agrarian community’s plight following hailstorms in parts of the country.
Quotas are the rule in government jobs and schools in India with politics often holding sway over who gets benefits, while critics urge for a transition to need-based programmes that provide advantages based on economic or geographic conditions.