MPPSC paper dubs Bhil tribe criminal-minded, draws flak

MPPSC paper dubs Bhil tribe criminal-minded, draws flak

Representative image. (DHNS Photo)

A question paper of the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission's exam describing the Bhil community as "criminal-minded" has stirred a controversy, with the BJP as well as some Congress leaders demanding action against those responsible for such derogatory reference.

The MPPSC termed it as "unfortunate" and sought to downplay the controversy, saying the question was not included with any malicious intention.

During the MPPSC's preliminary examination held across the state on Sunday, the question paper for reasoning and aptitude had a passage which described the Bhil community as being "apradhik pravriti" (criminal-minded) and indulging in "alcoholism".

Taking strong objection to the reference, leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Gopal Bhargava hit out at the ruling Congress in the state.

"This reflects the Congress government's thinking towards innocent tribals and it is highly derogatory for the entire tribal community," the BJP leader said.

Bhargava demanded that Chief Minister Kamal Nath take immediate action against those responsible for portraying the Bhil community in such a manner.

BJP MLA Ram Dangore (30), who also appeared for the preliminary exam conducted by the MPPSC, brought it to the notice of his party and the media after he came across the controversial passage in the question paper.

Dangore, who represents Pandhana seat in Khandwa district, demanded action against those who set the question paper and a case against them under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

"The Bhil community members are very innocent and by portraying them in such a manner, the MPPSC has disrespected them," Dangore, who also belongs to the community, told PTI.

The lawmaker said that he took the exam as he is also a teacher and imparts coaching to aspiring students. Therefore, he wanted to understand the current pattern of the exam.

Congress MLA Laxman Singh, who is the younger brother of former state chief minister Digvijay Singh, also took a dim view of such a reference about the Bhil community.

The legislator, in a tweet, said he got hurt with such reference about the Bhil community and those responsible for it should be duly punished.

He demanded that Nath express regret over the matter in the Assembly to send across a good message in society.

Another Congress MLA and former Union minister Kantilal Bhuria, who is also a tribal, condemned MPPSC chairman Bhasker Choube for the derogatory reference about the Bhil community in a passage of the exam paper and demanded the latter's removal from the post.

Meanwhile, MPPSC secretary Renu Pant dubbed the matter as "unfortunate" and said they were trying to find out how such an "error" took place.

"This is unfortunate. There was no ill-intention behind it. What prompted the error is being looked into. We are planning to take correctional measures to overcome the error," Pant told PTI.

She said those who set the question papers are always warned not to touch upon a subject that hurts feelings of a class or community.

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