Maharashtra students protest against offline board exams

Thousands of students protest against Maharashtra government’s decision to conduct class 10, 12 exams in offline mode. While protests in Jalgaon and Aurangabad remained peaceful, things turned violent in Mumbai and Nagpur, with some students damaging private and police vehicles by pelting rocks and blocking roads.

The students argue that amid the terror of the third wave of Covid-19, the government should conduct online exams for the safety of students. Here’s everything you need to know.

When will Maharashtra administration conduct class 10, 12 exams?

The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) had released the Class 10, 12 exam datasheet in December. Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams are conducted from March 4 to March 30, while Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams are conducted from March 15 to April 24. The exams are taken offline.

Why do students protest?

Maharashtra board class 10, 12 students have expressed their disagreement against the offline board exams through various social media platforms. They also expressed concerns about the lack of time to complete the syllabus before the 2022 board exams.

The call for the protest was made by a social media influencer Vikas Fhatak, aka ‘Hindustani Bhau’, who reportedly makes abusive videos on social media.

On January 29, Fhatak had uploaded a video to his fan page account on Instagram asking students to come out and “protest peacefully” against the government’s decision in Dharavi, outside Gaikwad’s residence.

Police later arrested Vikas Fhatak and his assistant Ikrar Khan for orchestrating the protest in Dharavi, where more than 1,000 students, mostly minors, blocked roads and some of them used violence, damaged vehicles, including police vehicles, and were lathi-charged by the police . He was brought before a magistrate in Bandra and was remanded in custody with his assistant until February 4.

What is the government’s position on the exam?

The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, has said it is unwilling to reconsider its decision to conduct offline exams. It has also ordered an investigation into the protests across the state.

Home Secretary Dilip Walse Patil said: “I have ordered the police to verify all the factors leading to the incident. In the past two days, several videos provoking protests in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur have gone viral. This was a planned protest by some organizations and we will take appropriate measures against them. The Minister of Education and the Prime Minister will look into the issues raised by students and find an appropriate solution.”

Sajal Jain
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