Protest against making knowledge of Malayalam mandatory

The Public Service Commission (PSC) on Saturday postponed the examinations for recruitment of junior assistants and lower division clerks scheduled to be held from 1.30 p.m. on the day at 27 centres in the district, as it could not despatch question papers and OMR sheets following a protest by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists at its district office.

The BJP activists picketed the PSC here alleging that the decision to make knowledge of Malayalam mandatory for recruitment in government service would mar the prospects of the Kannada-speaking linguistic minorities in northern Kerala.

The BJP workers, led by party State general secretary K. Surendran, surrounded the PSC office located near the municipal office at Pulikkunu locality here by 7.30 a.m. and blocked the staff members from entering the office.

The activists prevented the staff members from despatching question papers to the respective centres.

The activists later took away the bundle of question papers and OMR sheets and tore them into pieces.

As they failed to despatch question papers and OMR sheets to respective centres, the authorities later cancelled the examinations scheduled for the day in the district.

Mr. Surendran said the BJP would not allow the conduct of similar examinations in the State if the government failed to revoke the decision on Malayalam as it would deprive the Kannada speaking linguistic minorities in parts of the district of their fundamental rights.

The protesters dispersed after ensuring that the examinations were postponed.

Case registered

The police have registered cases against around 400 BJP activists, including Mr. Surendran and party district general secretary K. Sreekanth under IPC sections 143 and 145 (unlawful assembly).

The decision to make knowledge of Malayalam mandatory for PSC examinations had led to widespread resentment among the Kannada-speaking linguistic minorities, who pursued their education in Kannada medium schools in the region. They argued that the decision would hit the job prospects of the section who had been residing in Kerala after State reorganisation in 1957.

They have petitioned the Governor, the Chief Minister and the PSC chairman on the issue, and the Chief Minister had assured the Assembly that he would look into the issue.

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