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UPSC exam row: Protests continue in parliament, on streets
Wednesday August 6, 2014 1:15 AM, IANS

Protests over the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) continued to rage in parliament as well as on the streets Tuesday, a day after the government assurance that the marks for English language comprehension skills will not be included in preparing the merit list.

While the protesting aspirants said they will settle for nothing less than the scrapping of the "discriminatory" CSAT and will continue their agitation, the issue once again rocked both houses of parliament, leading to disruptions and several adjournments.

Briefing BJP members at a parliamentary party, union Urban Development Minister and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the government's move to not include English marks in the merit list was the "best and quick" solution.

Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha disrupted the house while seeking a debate over the issue.

As members continued agitating, an angry Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari said he would not allow a debate without proper notice.

When AIADMK members trooped near the chairman's podium, Ansari told them to go back to their seats. But the members refused to relent, forcing the chairman to adjourn the house till noon.

When the house reassembled, opposition members were once again on their feet demanding a debate on the issue.

"The government has given a knee-jerk reaction to agitating students. It is a counter-reaction," Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said.

"The announcement has made the matter more complex," he said.

DMK member Kanimozhi said regional languages have been "discriminated against".

The government had earlier also said that those who gave the UPSC exam in 2011, will be given another chance in 2015.

Communist Party of India-Marxist member P. Rajeeve asked: "What about those who gave exam in 2012, and 2013... and what about the age limit."

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien asked the members to give a proper notice, to which the members later agreed.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha too.

Samajwadi Party led by MP Dharmendra Yadav raised slogans against CSAT. He pressed for suspension of the question hour. But Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed suspension of the question hour and said she would allow the issue to be discussed during zero hour.

But when the zero hour started, Yadav and other Samajwadi Party members as also Pappu Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal stood near the speaker's podium and started raising slogans, demanding scrapping of the CSAT exam.

There was an uproar on other issues as well, and the house was adjourned till 12.30 p.m.

When the house met at 12.30 p.m., similar scenes were witnessed. Members from the Samajwadi Party and the Congress marched to the speaker's podium again and started shouting slogans of "We want justice" after which the house was again adjourned till 2 p.m.

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).

Meanwhile, the students continued their demonstration in two places in the capital.

Scores of them staged a sit-in at Jantar Mantar, demanding CSAT be completely done away with. Most of them had pitched their camps since Monday night. They refused to budge when a posse of policemen asked them to vacate the spot, leading to skirmishes.

"We want the examination date to be postponed and CSAT to be scrapped. The protest may intensify if the government does not meet our demands," Ajit Chakarvarty said.

In north Delhi's Mukherjee Nagar, the second spot where the demonstration is on since 10 days, students raised noisy slogans. They pledged to continue their protests till the government heeds to their demand.

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