Students, organisations protest as allegations against NEET examinations pile up

Protestors took Delhi, Kanpur and Bhopal, by storm with student organisations, opposition youth wings, taking to protest against the allegations of malpractice levelled against the NEET.

As the NDA government takes its third term as ruling power in the central government, students and activists erupted in protests regarding the NEET exams. On the day of the oath taking ceremony of the new government, held on June 9th 2024, Delhi witnessed protests against alleged malpractices in the NEET exam whose results were released recently.

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) or NEET is an entrance test held for admission to medical courses for undergraduate students, it is being conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The results for the NEET 2024, were declared on June 4, the same day as the arrival of the results for the Lok Sabha elections.

On June 10th, several student associations including the All India Students Association (AISA), National Students Association of India (NSUI), Youth Congress workers which the Congress party’s youth wing, came together in a protest in the nation’s capital. Students also protested outside Shastri Bhawan, Delhi. They have claimed that coaching centres are indirectly bribing officials and recommending the names of students who can afford a huge amount of fees as top rankers. This corruption, they argue, is directly contributing to student suicides.

Kanpur and Bhopal too witnessed protests on June 7th and 8th respectively, with hundreds of students protesting and demanding redressal, according to ABP Live.

As per a piece by Sabrang India, a social media storm gathered with regards to the results. There were reports that 67 candidates secured an All India rank of 1 with perfect scores of 720/720. This high score for as many students suggested that cut-offs would also be high. Furthermore, it was stated by many observers that these almost perfect scores achieved by students were also impossible given that the NEET exam has negative marking. Several social media posts were circulated showing that several top-scoring students had roll numbers that were closely ranked. This led many to speculate that these students might have taken the exam at the same centre.  Students and concerned citizens have called for protest and an investigation committee to be set up.

Similarly, a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court for the cancellation of the NEET 2024 and for an SIT (Special Investigation Team) to be set up to investigate allegations of fraud and malpractice. The petition argues that due to these practices, hard-working students have been denied a ‘level-playing field.’ The Supreme Court has denied a stay on the NEET but has sent notices to the NTA.

In the wake of this outrage, the NTA has announced that the Education Ministry has set up a panel to look at the results of over 1,500 students who received grace marks in the NEET UG 2024 exams. The panel consists of 4 members and is chaired by a former UPSC chairperson. The committee is slated to complete its review and present its findings within a week.

The opposition leaders have decried the government for these allegations of malpractice. Congress leader and MP elect, Rahul Gandhi took to X, formerly Twitter, to comment on the issue, saying, “Narendra Modi has not even taken oath yet and the scam in NEET exam has devastated more than 24 lakh students and their families.”

Tamil Nadu chief minister M. K. Stalin has reignited his call for the exam to be abolished, declaring that the NEET exam, “NEET and other entrance examinations are anti-poor.

* They undermine federal polity.

* They are against social justice.

* They impact the availability of doctors in deserving areas.”



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