Protest intensifies in Telangana over exam goof-up
Telangana Police arrested scores of opposition leaders and workers across the state as the protests over the massive bungling in Intermediate examination results intensified on Monday.
Police placed several top leaders under house arrest and took many others into custody as they were heading to Hyderabad for participating in 'Maha Dharna' called by the opposition parties over the goof-up, which allegedly led to suicide of at least 21 students over the last 10 days.
Tension prevailed at the Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) office here as scores of protesters from the opposition parties and student organisations tried to stage a sit-in, demanding resignation of Education Minister Jagdish Reddy and compensation to the families of the students who committed suicide.
Police, which erected barricades and deployed additional force around BIE office, stopped leaders and activists of Congress, Communist Party of India (CPI), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and student groups like NSUI, PDSU, AISF and TVV, bundled them into waiting vehicles and shifted them to different police stations.
Senior Congress leader Geeta Reddy, TJS President M. Kodandaram, TDP state chief L. Ramana and senior leader R. Chandrashekhar Reddy were among those arrested by the police.
Police also arrested ABVP activists as they tried to stage protest at Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao in Begumpet. Holding ABVP flags and raising anti-government slogans, they tried to barge into the building but were arrested by police. A couple of protesters fell unconscious when they were being physically removed and shifted to police vehicles.
Congress leaders Anjan Kumar Yadav, V. Hanumantha Rao, Srisalilam Goud were kept under house arrest in Hyderabad.
Opposition leaders in the districts were either arrested or kept under house arrest to prevent them from heading to Hyderabad.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also intensified its protest with its state chief K. Laxman on Monday beginning indefinite fast at state BJP office here.
Senior leaders Bandaru Dattatreya, BJP national General Secretary Muralidhar Rao and others expressed solidarity with Laxman. They demanded resignation of the Education Minister and action against those responsible for the bungling in Intermediate results.
Meanwhile, a girl student who had set herself afire three days ago over failure in the examination, succumbed at a hospital in Karimnagar. With this, the number of students who committed suicide since the announcement of results on April 18 rose to 21.
In another development, the case came up for hearing in Telangana High Court on Monday. The state government informed the court that it ordered free re-verification of answer sheets of all students who failed to get pass marks. The court was told that the entire process will be completed by May 8.
The court directed the BIE to submit the details like the number of students who passed the exams after re-verification. Voicing concern over the suicide by students, the court also sought details of the answer scripts of these students.
A total of 9.74 lakh students had appeared in Intermediate First and Second Year (11th and 12th standard) exams held in February-March. Out of them, 3.28 lakh students failed to obtain the pass marks.
Blunders in valuation and processing of the results by authorities sent panic among students and parents. Students who passed with distinction in First Year were given marks in single digit in the Second Year. The mark sheet of some students who wrote the exams reported them absent.
A three-member committee formed by the government to look into the goof-up revealed errors both by BIE and Globarena Technologies, an IT company whose services were hired.
BIE late on Sunday announced that it has imposed a fine on a teacher and suspended another for giving zero marks instead of '99' to a student in one of the subjects. The opposition parties, however, demanded action against the higher-ups in the Board and the IT company. IANS