History is all set to repeat itself as the government seems to have not learnt a lesson from the mistake it made in 2013 while making language options available for the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).
Only after a student filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court (SC), it had included Urdu as a medium for the exam. Since Urdu has not been made a part of NEET 2017, student bodies across the country have decided to approach the SC with a similar petition on Friday. After mid-day's report on December 28, on how government's decision to exclude Urdu from NEET had drawn criticism, the state medical education minister had written to the Union Health Ministry demanding its inclusion.
However, a notification issued by CBSE, it has been mentioned that students would be able to appear for NEET in 10 regional languages namely English, Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya and Kannada. The Islamic students' community is angry over the fact that Urdu has not been included in the examination even though over 18,000 students in Maharashtra alone speak the language. Apart from approaching the SC, students from across the country plan to stage a nationwide protest.
Speaking to mid-day, 21-year-old Nadeem Sheikh, who wants to appear for NEET said, "I am extremely worried about my future. I studied in Nurul Islamic College as my elder sister studied there. She appeared for NEET in Urdu and became a doctor. The government should understand that this is injustice to thousands of students who have studied in Urdu."
Reacting to the issue, Islamic Students' Association president Mohammad Ali said, "It is complete discrimination against the Muslim community. It seems we have to repeat what was done in 2013. By doing this for NEET, the government is simply taking away our opportunities related to other allied courses." He further said, "This decision will affect thousands of students, who can only read and write in Urdu."
Joint Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Arun Singhal said, "Last time the response in Urdu was not phenomenal after we included it. We cannot include all languages that are there in the country." When asked as to how would the students who have never studied in English cope, he said, "There are plenty of translation books available. Just because we included Urdu in the past, doesn't mean we'll do it again."
Number of students speaking Urdu in Maharashtra