The cry for change is ringing in the air of Lucknow. Joining the chorus of tens of millions of engineering and medical aspirants, Bicyclist socialist leader Akhilesh Yadav has accused the BJP government of being inhuman in dithering to postpone Neet-JEE exams in the season of darkness.
Inspired by the Clarion Call of their leader earlier this month on 9 August anniversary of Quit India, youth socialist leaders, Ram Karen Nirmal, Anees Raja and Arvind Giri staged an astonishing round of protest in heart of the Government administration zone.
To everyone’s surprise, the protest opposing Neet-JEE exams amidst raging Corona virus pandemic was started by youth wings of the Samajwadi Party on 28 August. A good group of student leaders belonging to Lohia Vahini, Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha and Mulayam Singh Youth Brigade launched a non-violent protest in front of the main entrance of the Raj Bhavan, Governor House.
The protests were triggered by the recalcitrant attitude of the BJP government to conduct JEE-Neet examinations nationwide in face of alarming threat to students life.
Actually speaking, popular discontent had been rising against the Narendra Modi led Union government and Adityanath led state government due to their inept handling of the Covid_19 crisis.
As always, Yogi Adityanath’s police responded to the protests with a fury.
The blatant use of violence against protesting workers of main political opposition, Samajwadi Party led by popular ex-CM Akhilesh Yadav deserves the strictest condemnation from all quarters. Whenever youths have marched in protest on the boulevard leading to CM House, Vidhan Sabha or Raj Bhavan, Adityanath’s police has violently suppressed their non-violent movements.
In the rain of baton blows on the encircled group of young activists, some socialist soldiers received serious injury. Blood-stained back, ankle, stomach and arms of Lohia Vahini’s state president Ram Karan Nirmal was full of bruises. As if not content with beating him black and blue, a Hazratganj police officer was caught on camera tearing into the hair of limping Nirmal. It was a very barbaric behavior from a philistine policeman.
Amongst other protesters in Lucknow, Rahul Singh, Kishan Dixit, JNU PhD scholar Dileep Yadav, Amrendra Arya, Om Prakash, Pramod Yadav alias Baaloo, Pradeep Sharma, Pawan Saroj, Sultan Khan, Shoaib Khan, Manoj Singh, Tanveer Khan and Om Yadav were the prominent ones who braved the brutality of police force gone berserk.
Just as the news of Lucknow protest spread out, a large number of socialist workers affiliated with youth frontals of SP hit the road in several cities and towns, including Allahabad, hub of student politics in UP and Benares. Leading the charge of a stormy protest in Allahabad were Adeel Hamza, Sandeep Yadav, Neha, Ajit Vidhayak, Lekhraj Yadav, Akash Yadav and others.
A few days ahead of the surprise call of protest Samajwadi Party national president and former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav had written an open letter to Prime Minister, Education Minister and almost over one-and-half-million medical and engineering aspirants in which the socilalist leader had urged the Centre to rollback its decision to hold NEET and JEE exams considering the vulnerability of students to contagion virus during the travel to exam centres. Piqued by the ‘Quick on Trigger’ attitude of the ruling party, Akhilesh blasted the incompeten BJP govt for throwing caution to the wind and compromising with the health of the Gen Next. In an open letter, the socialist warrior alleged,”The stand of the BJP is a slapstick. They say, BJP, that when people can come out for other work, why can’t they sit for exams? Let me remind the ruling party mandarins that people are moving out for necessary things as they have some essential duty on the brain. You can’t coerce students into taking examinations at the cost of their precious lives.”On the other hand, hare-brained Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has adopted a ;Devil-May-Care’ attitude towards the students. His premise is so flighty when he claims the exams should be conducted because more than 17 lakh candidates have already downloaded the admit cards for JEE and NEET exams.Akhilesh asked a pertinent question which has echo in the hearts of millions of parents, “Who will be held responsible if students contract the infection? For vote, the BJP has no morals.”To suit their political purpose, the BJP has had a long tryst with a cluster of contentious issues. Ever since mindless, unplanned and uncared lockdown had been set in motion, the unemployment rate in both urban and rural areas have been steadily accelerating. Never before in the past fifty years had the country’s youth experienced such a vast ocean of despair on the job market. What to speak of labourers, even engineering graduates are frittering away time in desolation and media outlets continue to report a spike in suicides across the country. For record, the NEET is scheduled to be held on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE Main has been planned from September 1-6.
Taking a leaf out of Akhilesh’s book, even the Congress Party and its former President Rahul Gandhi launched a nationwide campaign against the Central government’s decision to conduct NEET and JEE main exams.Meanwhjile, the Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said that students would be losing an entire academic year if NEET and JEE examinations are to be postponed now.
The student community has been caught in the pandemic pandemonium. Most of the students were in full form to sit for the exams scheduled to be held first in April. Upon growing cry for postponement, the exams were first moved to July and later pushed to September. Now, a section of students is demanding that the exams should be held after Diwali.