Police stop students from marching to Parliament amid NEET, UGC-NET row

Call for march given by Cong.-affiliated NSUI; police detain around 80 protesters, release them after a warning; students demand Union Education Minister’s resignation and dissolution of NTA

Published - June 25, 2024 01:27 am IST - New Delhi

NSUI activists taking part in a protest against the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG and the cancellation of UGC-NET examination in New Delhi on Monday.

NSUI activists taking part in a protest against the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG and the cancellation of UGC-NET examination in New Delhi on Monday. | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

The police on Monday detained around 80 students from the Jantar Mantar here ahead of their proposed march to Parliament against alleged irregularities in the conduct of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and UGC-NET examination.

Those detained included members of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), which had given the call for the protest march. They were released by the police after a warning, an officer said.

The authorities had deployed security personnel in large numbers around the protest site.

A police officer said they had barricaded the area to prevent students from taking out the march since they had not taken permission for it. Some students tried to go past the barricades, the police officer added.

The NSUI said in a statement that the protesting students were detained when they started marching towards Parliament while demanding the dissolution of the National Testing Agency (NTA) and transparency in the examination process.

Protests in JNU, DU

Meanwhile, hundreds of students continued their protests at Delhi University (DU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) seeking the resignation of Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and UGC Chairman Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar.

The Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) organised a “Chhatra Sansad” at DU, where students demanded that political parties raise the issue prominently in the Parliament session. 

Bhim Kumar, a member of the Delhi State Committee of the KYS, said they also “demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into paper leaks in various exams”. 

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) reiterated its demand to reinstate an autonomous entrance examination for PhD admissions as well as undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Both exams are conducted by the NTA. While NEET is held for admissions to undergraduate courses at medical colleges across the country, the UGC-NET is conducted twice a year for the selection of junior research fellows, assistant professors and PhD scholars.

A major controversy had erupted after 67 students shared the first rank in the NEET results declared on June 4, leading to allegations of inflating of marks of some candidates. Allegations of paper leak in Bihar and awarding of grace marks to over 1,500 students also fuelled the demand for a retest.

The UGC-NET exam was conducted on June 18 and later cancelled with the government saying that its “integrity may have been compromised”.

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