Civil rights organisations in Gujarat are angry. They believe the government is trying to communalise everything it gets its hands upon - even the state civil service examinations. And they may not be wrong.
The Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) on Sunday conducted an examination for recruitment of Ayurvedic doctors. It was supposed to test the general knowledge of the candidates. But as it turned out, the paper had more than a dozen questions with overt communal and ideological connotations.
Sample: Which date is observed as 'black day' by minorities, but as 'victory day' by the Sangh Parivar?
The objective-type question paper also asked questions like whose sneeze can destablise the UPA government. (Options: CPI(M) leaders Jyoti Basu, Prakash Karat; Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi; and Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.)
Another asked: Who has said that Christians have the right to convert others? (Options: the Pope, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Sister Nirmala and Father Cedric Prakash.)
Civil rights activists described these questions as ridiculous and terrible. Convenor of Gujarat unit of the PUCL Devabrata Pathak said it shows that the state government was obsessed with communalising every aspect of life.
Leader of the Opposition Arjun Modhvadhia said the questions were communal statements of the BJP. He said he would take up the matter with the president and the PM.
Father Cedric Prakash, who spearheaded the civil rights movement in Gujarat since 2002 riots, said the nature of the questions reveal the communal mind-set of the ruling party.
Admitting that certain questions were 'irrelevant', GPSC secretary SA Golakiya told HT that these would be cancelled. He ruled out the cancellation of the examination but said the answer-sheets would be evaluated after 'irrelevant' questions were removed.