Indore/Bhopal, Jun 21 (PTI) The Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (MPPSC) on Tuesday blacklisted a paper setter and a moderator after a controversial question on Kashmir was asked in the General Aptitude Test of the state services preliminary examination.
The MPPSC also withdrew the controversial question from the exam, which was held on Sunday.
According to officials, the paper had a statement 'if India should decide to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan', and candidates were given arguments to choose from, one of which was 'yes, it will save a lot of money for India' and "no, such a decision will lead to more similar demands'.
The candidates had to answer which of the two arguments was stronger, while two more options given comprised 'both are stronger' or 'vice versa'.
"MPPSC has debarred two officials, belonging to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively, who were involved in the process of setting the paper. The question was objectionable and a letter is being written to MPPSC and Higher Education Department for action against them," Madhya Pradesh's Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters in Bhopal.
Mishra, who is also the state government spokesperson, said information has been provided to other states that both these officials were debarred and, hence, their services should not be used.
Speaking to reporters in Indore, MPPSC Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Ravindra Panchbhai said, "We do not agree with the content of the question asked on Kashmir in the paper on General Aptitude Test for State Services Preliminary Examination 2021. That's why we have removed (withdrawn) this question from the exam."
"The setter and the moderator involved in the process of preparing this paper have been black-listed, which means they are permanently debarred from the examination process of MPPSC. We have written to departments for disciplinary action against them," he said, though he refused to divulge the names of the two officials citing confidentiality of the examination.
A screen shot of the question went viral on social media, which attracted sharp reactions from people.
Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) media committee chairperson KK Mishra sought the resignation of the MPPSC chief.
"This is clearly a case of treason. Such a question was asked about Kashmir, for which our soldiers, people and leaders have lost their lives. MPPSC has admitted the folly," he told PTI.
"Now, the government should clarify if the question was asked with the consent of the prime minister, chief minister and MP home minister. Or they should register a case of treason against the people responsible for this," the Congress leader added.