Delhi Congress unit workers led by city unit chief Chaudhary Anil Kumar assembled near Shastri Bhawan here, which houses the Education ministry and raised slogans against the Narendra Modi government
NEW DLEHI – Upping the ante against the Centre, hundreds of Delhi Congress workers on Friday staged a protest outside the Ministry of Education demanding postponing NEET and JEE exams.
Delhi Congress unit workers led by city unit chief Chaudhary Anil Kumar assembled near Shastri Bhawan here, which houses the Education ministry and raised slogans against the Narendra Modi government.
However, they were detained by the Delhi Police and taken to Mandir Marg police station. Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and wrote, “NEET-JEE aspirants’ safety should not be compromised due to the failures of the government. Government must listen to all stakeholders and arrive at a consensus.”
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also took to Twitter and wrote, “The govt cannot ignore the voices of the students appearing for NEET, JEE exams and those of their concerned parents. They are the future of our country. With the rising scale of the pandemic, is it fair to expose them to infection in this manner? At least some things should be beyond politics.”
In the morning Rahul Gandhi also appealed to the people to join the nationwide protest for students’ safety. “Unite your voice with lakhs of suffering students. Speak up for student safety from 10 a.m. onwards. Let’s make the government listen to the students,” he tweeted.
The Congress is protesting across the country demanding postponing of NEET, JEE exams scheduled in the month of September amid the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Meanwhile, NSUI workers are sitting on a protest outside Shastri Bhawan for the last three days demanding postponing the exams.
Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal visited the NSUI workers in solidarity. “Visited NSUI protest at Shasthri Bhavan to show my solidarity. The BJP government must listen to the voice of students who are concerned about safety and transportation during Covid-19. The government must listen to them before making a decision on JEE and NEET exams,” Venugopal tweeted.
Addressing a virtual press conference along with Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, and Maharashtra Education Minister Uday Samant, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “This government is one of inefficiency, apathy and contradictions. Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Jharkhand, Puducherry, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have come together on major public interest issues and federal issues and that of students.”
Singhvi said that the logistics themselves show what a mockery the government is making of coronavirus safeguards. “The number of students is around 25 lakh. What kind of social distancing are you talking about?” he questioned. Attacking the government, he said, “This government has actually painted itself into a corner and is now trying to get out of it by kneejerk, ego-centered reactions.” He said these exams were scheduled in April, and the government kept postponing.
“You slept and did not create alternatives, now you are stuck,” he said. Pointing out the issue of transportation during the pandemic, he said process of mobility is an issue. “Distance to exam centres runs into hundreds of kilometers. They have not provided one centre per district which is minimum. There is no infrastructure, one temperature gun is hardly a safeguard,” he said.
Citing the example of Bihar, Singhvi said, out of the 38 districts, centres for NEET have been provided in only two districts while seven districts in case of JEE exams. “Such large movements are a recipe for disaster when health, life and security are concerned. We have tried to give a responsible roadmap. Even if you postpone exams to October-November, get results in six-eight weeks, you can comfortably start in January and complete the academic year,” the Congress leader said.
Singhvi also said that a reconsideration petition that has been filed is in four parts — safety and health, rational, balanced ways in which you can provide both objectives of health and education and policy rules based on which you will be able to do this.
“The short order that dismissed an earlier review petition has given no reasons. CLAT exams with lesser students, have been postponed from September 7 to 28. We hope that this convergence of views by important states of India will lead to a public interest result,” Singhvi added.
Earlier in the day, Congress workers across the country staged protests demanding postponement of NEET and JEE exams.