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Sarma denies leakage, ready to ‘quit’ Education portfolio

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 21: State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday stoutly maintained there has been no leakage of any HSLC question paper, as reported in a section of media. He, however, said that he has fallen victim to such a ‘media-concocted’ perception, and will request the Chief Minister to relieve him of the charge of Education portfolio.

Addressing the media in the city on Tuesday, Sarma said: “As far as I know, there was no leakage of any HSLC question paper. The DC, SP and the headmasters of the schools concerned still stand to their firm view that there was no such leakage. Had there been so, at least some students would have had the question paper with them. The alleged ‘leakage of question papers’ is just a perception created by a section of media. The irony, however, is that I have to bow to this concocted perception since the issue involves the future of lakhs of students of the State. We’ve felt it wise to reschedule the dates of examitions of the subjects concerned and go for fresh sets of question papers. We’re doing this to restore the trust of students on the examition system.”

The minister admitted: “It is correct that the headmaster of a school did open the packet of a different question paper. However, as soon as he came to know that the packet was not of the examition to be held that particular day, he instantly sealed the packet afresh. All this happened under the surveillance of CCTV camera. We’re going to inquire into the entire incident with a sitting judge of Gauhati High Court when the HSLC examitions are over.”        

Sarma further said: “A section of media has targeted the departments held by me. My persol quarrel with a newspaper owner has led to such a controversy. I, however, won’t allow this quarrel cast its shadow over the future of students. With a preconceived perception, a newspaper is out to make people believe there has been leakage of question papers. Keeping in view the future of students, we don’t want to challenge the newspaper now. However, the students have already received a shock, however minor it might be. This is why I’m ready to request the Chief Minister to relieve me from the Education department.”

The Education Minister then alleged that a newspaper had recently reported that some sheets of a Hindi textbook were printed inside the Social Studies textbook. “We’ve conducted a thorough search of such copies, but failed to find any. The particular copy of the textbook was printed in a luxury press with the insertion of a few sheets of a Hindi textbook. The father of the student is the member of a particular political party,” he said, adding: “With the sole motive of maligning my image, a section of media is out to mortgage the futures of 4 lakh students of the State.”

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Ankur Kalita