Angry students demanding an extra attempt at India’s Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination have staged an indefinite strike in the centre of New Delhi.
The students have said that they are entitled to an extra attempt because their preparations were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the leaders of the sit-in, Abhishek Anand Sinha said the agitators had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking extra attempts at the prestigious examination which opens the door to the country’s Public Service.
“Many students who tested positive for COVID-19 have been quarantined and some of them lost their family member due to the virus,” Mr Sinha said.
“They cannot study under such circumstances,” he said.
“There are so many people in our groups who are doctors and worked day and night during that period.
“They are not prepared as it was difficult for them to manage time.”
Mr Sinha said that unable to travel to coaching classes to study, many people faced a “digital divide as they don’t have facilities like laptops, internet connections, or bandwidth”, he said.
“We are sitting on an infinite protest.
“We all have hope that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Home Minister, Amit Shah both will listen,” he said.
Earlier, police clashed with protesters claiming anomalies in the examination for the State of Jharkhand Public Service.
The protesters, mostly unsuccessful candidates, were demanding cancellation of the preliminary results of the examination, declared last month (November).
Police put up barricades to stop them and when protesters broke through police charged at them with lathis (long bamboo sticks often used by police in India) to beat them back.
New Delhi, 1 December 2021