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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Students, Opposition protest NET paper leaks: Stop playing with our lives, say agitators to Pradhan

In a rare outreach, a ministry official was sent to Shastri Bhawan’s gates to invite student representatives for talks, but they refused to meet anyone other than Pradhan

Pheroze L. Vincent New Delhi Published 21.06.24, 08:56 AM
A policewoman detains a member of the Indian Youth Congress during the protest outside Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s residence in New Delhi on Thursday.

A policewoman detains a member of the Indian Youth Congress during the protest outside Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s residence in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI

Fervent protests took place in the capital on Thursday after the Centre called off the UGC-NET.

Leftist student groups attempted to block the gates of Shastri Bhawan — where the education ministry is located — all through the afternoon. The Indian Youth Congress also attempted to gather outside education minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s residence at Teen Murti Marg. As they were dragged away by police and central forces, they yelled: “Dharmendra Pradhan come to your senses! Stop playing with children’s lives.”

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In a rare outreach, a ministry official was sent to Shastri Bhawan’s gates to invite student representatives for talks, but they refused to meet anyone other than Pradhan. “Everytime we meet anyone else, they say we will speak to sir, we will let him know about your concerns, etc. That’s why we wanted to meet him and only him,” All India Students Association (AISA), Delhi, secretary Neha Bora told The Telegraph.

The protesting students were detained by the police and taken to police stations far away from the protest spot. SFI Delhi president Aishe Ghosh told this newspaper: “Dharmendra Pradhan has completely failed to make the education system accessible. During his term, funds have continuously been cut, privatisation has taken place, and the education system has deteriorated....”

Opposition leaders widely condemned the unprecedented failure to conduct a national-level examination in a fair manner.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge tweeted: “What kind of ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’ is this, where the question paper gets leaked every day!... The showering of knowledge on students during the ‘exam’ by the head of a government which cannot conduct a nationwide examination without rigging is dishonesty! Having pushed millions of youth into the quagmire of unemployment by making false promises, Modiji was roaming around universities yesterday under the shadow of cameras!”

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan posted on X: “This repeated incompetence is unacceptable, leaving students in limbo and wasting public money. The Central Government must take immediate steps to resolve this crisis at NTA and ensure a fair, transparent, and reliable examination process.”

Samajwadi Party leader chief minister Akhilesh Yadav referred to the recent police recruitment scam in Uttar Pradesh as well as the NEET fiasco.

He tweeted: “If the police recruitment exam paper is leaked, the law and order situation will not improve. Due to which there will be unrest and instability in the country and state.

“If there is fraud in the NEET exam, honest people will not be able to become doctors and in the future there will be a further shortage of doctors for treating the people of the country and dishonest people will become a threat to the lives of the public.

“Due to the absence of UGC-NET exam, the already existing shortage of teachers will increase even more....”

Trinamool MP Sagarika Ghose wrote on X: “Incompetence of the ‘non biological’ prime minister thoroughly exposed on #NEET and #UGC-NET exam. Instead of spending crores of tax payers money conducting the annual “Pariksha pe charcha” image boost why doesn’t @narendramodi actually focus on first conducting a proper pariksha.”

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