The Assam education department on Saturday grappled with reports of the geography question paper of the ongoing High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination going viral, leading to the detention of a candidate who admitted to spreading the “fake” question paper on social media.
The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA), which conducts the HSLC exams, confirmed that the geography paper, the examination for which was scheduled on March 20, was fake, prompting chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to tweet that certain groups were apparently trying to disrupt the overall atmosphere by leaking “fake” papers.
“It appears that certain groups of people are attempting to disrupt the entire atmosphere by fabricating false leaks of the high school leaving certificate exam papers. @assampolice will investigate the matter to ascertain the identities of the groups and take appropriate actions,” Sarma tweeted.
The state CID, which is probing the case, has till Saturday arrested 32 persons, including 14 juveniles, in connection with the general science paper leak, triggering protests by students and student organisations against the SEBA and the education minister for not being able to prevent it.
The masterminds of the case — Kumud Rajkhowa and Pranab Dutta from Lakhimpur district — revealed on Thursday they had also leaked the Assamese paper. Rajkhowa surrendered before the police on Friday evening.
Both the general science and Assamese (MIL) examinations were cancelled and rescheduled for March 30 and April 1, respectively.
Students hit the streets at several places against the paper leak on Saturday, too.
While the authorities were grappling with the leak of the two papers, reports of the third (geography) went viral on Saturday, sending the state education department personnel into a tizzy. Education minister Ranoj Pegu took to Twitter to clarify that the geography paper circulated on social media was fake.
In another tweet, Pegu said: “Inspector of schools, Nagaon has lodged FIR at Nagaon sadar police station regarding fake question paper of geography examination of HSLC. Police will definitely find out and book the culprits spreading the false news.”
According to the complaint lodged by the Nagaon inspector of schools Mridul Kumar Nath, an assistant teacher had informed him that a girl candidate had received the geography paper through WhatsApp in the morning.
The teacher also shared the said question paper with Nath who forwarded it to the SEBA office and met both the teacher and the candidate who revealed she had received the paper from a male candidate.
The inspector of schools then spoke to the male candidate who revealed he had received only the front page of the paper from “an All Assam WhatsApp group” and that he created another WhatsApp group with 225 members and made the paper go viral.
The Nagaon police have detained the male candidate.
The spreading of the fake paper, a police officer said, could be attributed to two reasons — sabotaging the examination and discrediting the system and the administration.
Pegu tweeted: “I appeal to the teachers, guardians and students to report such cases of question paper to concerned officer or the police immediately, and wait for official verification and statement. the govt is working hard to conduct free and fair examination.”
Manipur students demand NRC
Guwahati: Several student organisations from Manipur staged a dharna at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday, demanding the immediate implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the “protection” of the indigenous people of the northeastern state “under threat” from illegal immigrants.
This is the second demonstration by the students in a week.
On March 13, members of six student organisations hit the streets of Imphal to seek the implementation of the NRC, reminding the authorities that the Manipur Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution to implement the NRC in August 2022.
Over 100 students from Manipur, mostly based in Delhi, participated in the sit-in at Jantar Mantar with placards.