The Barak Democratic Front (BDF) and All Cachar Karimganj Students’ Association (ACKSA) have opposed plans to hold the Higher Secondary examinations in Assam on May 19.

According to the timetable for the Higher Secondary examinations, announced by the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC), the exams for Modern Indian Language or Alternative English will be held on May 19.

But BDF and ACKSA say that May 19 is observed across Barak Valley and by many Bengalis in the Northeast as Bhasa Shahid Diwas to commemorate the day when 11 Bengalis died to uphold their linguistic rights on this day in 1960.

“The Bhasa Shahid Diwas on May 19 is a hugely emotional day for us. We observe the day in memory of the eleven martyrs of our Bangla language movement and we think the Assam board’s plans to hold an exam for Higher Secondary students on that day as nothing short of a conspiracy,” said ACKSA adviser Rupam Nandi Purkayastha.

“We will oppose this tooth and nail,” he told Northeast Now.

Barak Democratic Front leader Pradip Dutta Roy echoed similar sentiments.

“We appeal to the Assam board and the state government to change the date of the exam and ensure no exam is held on May 19. This day is sacred for all our people because our language martyrs fell on this day to defend our linguistic rights,” Dutta Roy told Northeast Now.

Dutta Roy led the movement as the founder president of the ACKSA for a central university in the Barak Valley in the 1980s.

His BDF will contest the seats in the Barak Valley in the forthcoming Assam Assembly elections.

“The BJP sees us as the prime threat in the Barak Valley because we will fight for the Bengali cause. We have seen how the NRC has victimised Bengalis, Hindus and Muslims alike and we will appeal to Bengali Hindus to realise the BJP is not their protector,” Dutta Roy told Northeast Now.

“We want to expose the plight of Bengalis in BJP-ruled Assam and our message should reach West Bengal,” said Dutta Roy, pointing to BJP’s ‘priority focus’ in Barak Valley.

Dutta Roy said: “In the Barak Valley, the BJP now fears the BDF as the main threat because we have stood by Bengalis of all ilk to redress their grievances over the NRC. We will continue to fight to foil the conspiracies to turn bonafide citizens into doubtful citizens.”

“We will also like to carry our message to West Bengal, where Assembly polls are due along with Assam. The message is clear – Bengalis should not trust the BJP anymore after what has happened to our people in Assam,” Dutta Roy said.

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