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NSUI’s Indefinite Hunger Strike Against NEET-JEE Exam Enters Day 2

The central government has decided to conduct NEET-JEE exam, ignoring the collective strain of students’ grievances. NSUI is protesting against the exclusionary decision.

Due to the public health scenario, many academic procedures have been temporarily suspended until a later date. However, the central government has decided to conduct The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for medical and engineering fields, respectively. This decision has been met with a negative response from a significant number of student groups, academicians and politicians. Most notably, members of Congress-affiliated National Students’ of India (NSUI) have entered the second day of their indefinite hunger strike, demanding the postponement of NEET-JEE exams.

A citation of numbers problems such as lack of resources, infrastructural hurdles, logistical issues and accessibility have been highlighted to state authorities. In addition to the existing difficulties, many regions like Assam and Bihar have been inundated with severe floods, as members of the NSUI have pointed out. The state’s decision to continue with the exams in such times of emergency has come to be seen as ‘anti-student’.

NSUI members on a hunger strike. Image received by DU Beat from NSUI.

On Wednesday, The NSUI, under the leadership of National Party President Neeraj Kundan, staged their ‘Chhatr Satyagrah’ protests against the ‘ill-scheduled’ conducting of JEE, NEET and NET exam. In a public statement, their earlier demand for #NoExaminCovid was reiterated, citing ‘constitutional promise of equal opportunity to aspirants’ as one of the main reasons. It was further stated that there should be i) ‘postponement of the NEET, JEE and NET, considering the safety and security of students’ ii) ‘a concrete roadmap suggesting alternative ways to conduct exam’ and iii) ‘waives off the fee due to the economic distress (that) arose due to the lockdown’ for roughly six months. 

In their general statement, it was also said, “While deciding the policy one should always think about the last person of the society & currently he is the one who is trapped in flood & has got corona himself.” 

The statement issued by NSUI received by DU Beat.

Many public figures have also spoken out on the matter. Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen climate activist, has expressed solidarity with the students about the ‘deeply unfair’ situation.

An online campaign titled #SpeakUpForStudentSaftey has been launched by Congress leaders on Friday. Shashi Tharoor reported that it has become the top trend in the world with around ‘18 lacs’ tweets. Other public figures such Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Bollywood actor Sonu Sood have both also appealed to the central government to either postpone or cancel the exams. Notably, Sood also commented that he will ‘help students get to exam centres’ if the demands are not met.

The situation seems to be gaining political momentum. Around 9.53 lakh and 15.97 lakh candidates have registered for JEE-Mains and NEET this year. The National Testing Agency (NTA) has scheduled to conduct the NEET and JEE exam on September 13 and September 1-6 respectively.

Feature Image Credits: NSUI, Received by DU Beat

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Sushrut Yadav