NEET, JEE mains 2020: Voices grow louder in UP against decision to hold exams

NEET, JEE mains 2020: SP youth wings’ activists lathicharged in Lucknow, Cong to launch agitation on Friday; AAP gives memo for deferring the exams amid pandemic
Volunteers of Samajwadi Party’s youth wings were lathicharged during their protest at Raj Bhavan gate in Lucknow on Thursday.(HT)
Volunteers of Samajwadi Party’s youth wings were lathicharged during their protest at Raj Bhavan gate in Lucknow on Thursday.(HT)
Updated on Aug 27, 2020 05:57 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By

NEET, JEE mains 2020: Raising their voices against the Centre’s decision to hold Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) amid the Covid-19 pandemic in September, many opposition parties in the state plan statewide agitation against it.

Despite growing opposition, the National Testing Agency (NTA) – which is tasked with conducting various entrance examinations—on Tuesday announced that it would conduct the twin exams as per the schedule. The apex examination agency said NEET will be held on September 13 and JEE will be held from September 1 to 6.

Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday released a one-page open letter detailing all reasons for his objection. Within hours after the letter was released, volunteers of the SP’s students wing ‘Samajwadi Chattra Sabha’ and those of the youth wing ‘Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha’ reached the gate of Raj Bhavan to stage a protest, defying police instructions to not demonstrate there without prior permission. The face-off led to police lathi-charge on them. the volunteers said they would intensify their protest on Friday.

Congress has already announced a nationwide agitation from Friday and the UP Congress Committee (UPCC) and its student wing the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) would follow it in the state.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) handed over a memorandum to the Lucknow administration at GPO Park on Thursday morning demanding postponement of NEET, JEE entrance examinations.

The party’s state unit had planned a sit-in at GPO in protest against the exams but the Lucknow administration refused to give permission in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and imposed a complete ban of such events in the state capital till September 15.

“We handed over a memorandum to the Lucknow administration demanding postponement of the NEET, JEE entrance tests,” said AAP Lucknow district unit president Mahendra Singh.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, in his one-page document over the issue, said, “How could the arrogant BJP government hold the ‘deadly’ exam on the pretext of the popular demand of students, parents. The government should deploy its cabinet ministers, members of parliament, members of states’ assemblies outside the exam centres across the country to ensure no rules, regulations, and Covid-19 SOP was not violated.”

“The way arrangements are made during buying and selling of legislators, the exam candidates should get similar arrangements for their commuting, lodging, and flooding,” he added.

“In the times when trains and buses are disrupted in corona times, how the candidates will commute. And not all students have the capacity to hire taxis. Even if they can, are their enough taxis to cater to such a large number of students?. ‘Jaan ke badle exam nahin chalega (Say no to exam that endangers life),” he said in the document which he also posted on twitter.

In another tweet, Akhilesh said, “Only the candidates from the affluent and urban background would be able to reach exam centres. It’s a conspiracy against by poor and rural people by the government of the rich--BJP government”.

The JEE (Main) exam will be held at 660 centres across India from September 1 to 6 while NEET candidates would take the exam at 3,842 centres on September 13, according to the central government announcement.

According to a central government official, the education ministry is keen to hold the exams as it will not only help keep the academic year on the track but also save students from remaining in perpetual uncertainty.

Asked if any criteria could be chosen to select students for admission, the official said there was no alternative to these exams especially because colleges like IITs and AIIMS were highly coveted.

The NTA has been emphasising that it will hold the exams safely and that a detailed protocol has been put in place to ensure it.

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