Guwahati: The Assam government on Saturday dismissed reports of a fresh question paper leak, claiming attempts were being made to “disrupt the entire environment” after purported photographs of the Geography paper went viral on social media.
An examinee was, however, held from Nagaon district after the purported first page of the Geography question paper started doing rounds on social media, particularly WhatsApp, at around 11 am.
The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) claimed it to be fake.
In a tweet, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “It appears that certain groups of people are attempting to disrupt the entire atmosphere by fabricating false leaks of the High School Leaving Certificate exam papers. @assampolice will investigate the matter to ascertain the identities of the groups and take appropriate actions.”
Maintaining that no Geography question paper was leaked, Education Minister Ranoj Pegu shared on Twitter two screenshots — one of the first page of the “original Geography question paper of 2021” and the other of the allegedly edited one circulated during the day with claims that it was of this year’s.
This led to confusion as the class 10 examination was not held in 2021 due to the pandemic. The results were announced based on an evaluation process recommended by two expert committees.
A case was lodged at the Nagaon Sadar police station on the complaint of the district’s Inspector of Schools, following which a student was apprehended in connection with the Geography paper, Assam Police spokesperson Prasanta Kumar Bhuyan said.
“Interrogation is underway to extract more information,” he said.
Pegu shared the police complaint on Twitter, and the one apprehended was identified as a student appearing for the board exams.
Earlier this week, the question papers of General Science, Modern Indian Language (MIL) and English were leaked, following which the examinations were cancelled.
The General Science exam, which was supposed to be held on March 13, will now be held on March 30, while Modern Indian Language (MIL) and English exams were slated for Saturday but will now be held on April 1.
So far, 32 people have been apprehended in connection with the paper leaks, and two teachers identified as the mastermind. These teachers — Pranab Dutta and Kumud Rajkhowa — were brought to the CID headquarters in Guwahati from Lakhimpur on Saturday as police dig deeper into the leaks that have rocked the state.
Dutta allegedly took out the question paper sets, and circulated those with Rajkhowa’s help, according to police.
Protests across the state continued with the students who should have been appearing for the now-cancelled exam on Saturday, demonstrating outside the SEBA office in Guwahati.
Nearly a hundred students gathered outside the SEBA office, raising slogans against the government.
At a similar protest site in Namti in Sivsagar district, a student pleaded for Sarma’s intervention, stating, “We are the same age as the chief minister’s children. We are the future of the country. We come from middle-class families, our parents pay for our education with great difficulty. Please don’t make a mockery of our efforts and future.”
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The protesting students blocked roads in Dholpur, Lakhimpur, Kharupetia and Darrang, besides burning tyres and effigies of the education minister.
Protests were also held in Bongaigaon, Bilasipara, Gohpur, Raha, Golaghat and Mariani, but those were largely peaceful.
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