Mobile internet shut down in Assam second time in 8 days to conduct job exams

Updated on Aug 28, 2022 02:19 PM IST

The move to shut down mobile internet in Assam came in view of the question paper leaks happened during government jobs exams in the past

Exams are being conducted in Assam to fill nearly 30,000 government posts for which over 1.4 million candidates have applied. (PTI)
Exams are being conducted in Assam to fill nearly 30,000 government posts for which over 1.4 million candidates have applied. (PTI)

The mobile internet services in 26 of 35 districts of Assam were shut down for four hours on Sunday to allow the state government to conduct written tests for jobs in various departments without any glitch.

The move came in view of the question paper leaks happened during government jobs exams in the past. As an additional measure to prevent any such malpractices, candidates and invigilators were not allowed to carry mobile phones and other electronic devices insides the test centres.

This is the second time in eight days that mobile internet services have been suspended in the state in order to conduct tests. The exams are being conducted to fill nearly 30,000 posts for which over 1.4 million candidates have applied. The third such test is scheduled on September 11, but no decision on another shutdown has been taken yet.

The first mobile internet shutdown was on August 21 when over 500,000 candidates appeared for tests for Grade IV posts in 10,036 centres in 24 districts. On Sunday, over 850,000 candidates were expected to sit for tests for around 19,000 Grade IV posts in nearly 1,900 exam centres.

Though the timings for the shutdown was supposed to be from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday, some service providers suspended services from early morning affecting millions of users across the state.

Chairing a review meeting on Saturday ahead of the test, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma instructed officials to ensure that the exam passes smoothly and nobody uses unfair means.

He also asked police officials to see that there are no traffic snarls which prevent candidates from reaching centres on time. On August 21, some candidates in Cachar district of Barak Valley had failed to reach their centres on time due to traffic congestion.

“I would like to apologise to the public for the inconvenience. But while mobile internet will be closed, wired internet will be available. It is important that we take this measure because if anyone sends out the question paper on WhatsApp during the exam, there will be a lot of hue and cry and we don’t want to take any risk,” Sarma said earlier this month.

On Friday, the Gauhati high court rejected a petition filed by activist Raju Prasad Sarma challenging the government’s move to shut down mobile internet services to conduct job exams.

Issuing a notice to the state government on the issue, justice Suman Shyam held that there was no breach of freedom of expression due to shutdown of mobile internet as there’s no disruption in broadband internet services.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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