A screengrab of the Maharashtra SSC & HSC board exam application has been going viral on social media with the claim that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government lead by Shiv Sena CM Uddhav Thackeray has removed the category of ‘Hindu’ from the application form. A fact check by Newschecker has found the claim to be false.
A by the handle @fgautier26 tweeted the same image with the caption “The word “Hindu” disappeared from the maharashtra secondary and higher secondary forms in the religion column… “Non Minority” was used instead of “Hindu”… This is a first, NO?” The post has been retweeted over 1000 times and has been liked over 1500 times.
An archived copy of the tweet can be found here.
Others meanwhile blamed the Shiv Sena government for the move, calling them worse than Mughals.
Claim Viral Around Time Of Maharashtra SSC & HSC Board Exam Application In 2020 Too
The same claim, that Uddhav Govt dropped ‘Hindu’ from Maharashtra SSC & HSC board exam application had gone viral earlier in 2020 around the HSC & SSC board exam application time, and 24/7 news channel Times Now even published an article with the same claim.
To verify the veracity if ‘Hindu’ was dropped from Maharashtra SSC board exam application, Newschecker conducted a keyword search on the words ‘minority category in SSC, HSC forms’.
We found an article in the Times Of India titled ‘SSC, HSC pupils can mention minority status in exam forms’. The article is dated September 13, 2013 and says that the decision was taken in a meeting between the then minority minister Arif Naseem Khan and the education minister Rajendra Darda.
“The new system will not only help in collating accurate data on how many minority community students appear for SSC, and HSC exams but will also help in streamlining admission to junior and degree college,” Arif Naseem Khan is quoted as saying in the Times Of India article.
The party in power in 2013 when the change happened was the Congress party under Pithviraj Chavan. This proves that the Uddhav Thackeray government did not alter the Maharashtra SSC &HSC board exam application form as is being claimed.
But the form remained unchanged under the following BJP government lead by Devendra Fadnavis in 2014-2019 duration, despite reporting confusion over the section in 2015.
An article in the Times Of India published on December 2015, titled ‘Confusion over minority category in SSC & HSC forms’ quotes KK Patil, the then secretary of the state board, as saying “The category has been introduced to keep a record of students with respect to the minority category they belong to so that they get all the benefits offered by the students’ welfare institutions and organisations. Based on the data provided by students at this stage, various departments of the state government can plan scholarships and schemes for them.”
Social media users also pointed out another form from 2017 that is available in the website of Pune SSC Board, to show that the form has been in existence even under the BJP regime and is not a new phenomenon. Newschecker found the form uploaded in 2017 on tracing the link shared in the social media post.
((Screengrab of the Pune SSC board website))
Newschecker also reached out to Sharad Gosavi, the State Board President who said, “We have noticed that wrong claims are going viral regarding the Maharashtra SSC & HSC board exam application on social media. Please don’t believe it.”
Also read our Marathi fact check which debunked the claim first, here
Fact finding by the Newschecker reveals that the Maharashtra SSC Board exam application forms were not altered by the MVA government, but by the Prithviraj Chavan government in 2013. The word Hindu was also not dropped from the application form.
Result: Misleading/Partly False
Times of India
Pune SSC board website