NEET protests intensify: NSUI joins agitation as NTA continues to face flak

Meanwhile, aspirants in Kanpur on Friday raised slogans against the NTA, which is responsible for conducting NEET.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 07, 2024 | 11:31 PM Updated Jun 07, 2024 | 11:32 PM

NSUI members protests against NEET results.

Protests against the alleged irregularities in the exam results for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) or NEET have intensified across the country.

On one hand, aspirants in Kanpur on Friday, 7 June, raised slogans against the National Testing Agency (NTA), which is responsible for conducting the medical education entrance test.

Meanwhile, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) — the student wing of the Congress — on Friday picked up cudgels on behalf of NEET aspirants.

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Protests in Kanpur

In the Kakadev area of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of medical aspirants rallied through the streets.

Many also gathered in front of coaching institutes to demand a re-conduct of NEET and a CBI investigation into the matter.

Videos of medical aspirants chanting slogans such as “We want justice”, “NTA teri tanasahi nahin chalegi” (NTA, your dictatorship will not last), and “NTA chor hai” (NTA is a thief) have been circulating on social media.

The X (formerly Twitter) handle “Indian Doctor” shared some of these videos, stating, “Aggressive physical protest in #Kanpur by #NEET aspirants against mass level of paper leak in #NEET. Now students are coming on the road. [sic]”

Another post by ‘Indian Doctor’ on X highlighted, “Kanpur #NEET aspirants on FIRE. Biggest physical protest against @NTA_Exams by NEET aspirants in Kakadev of Kanpur!! Demands: #RENEET & strict CBI investigations. [sic]”

Activist Dr Vivek Pandey also addressed the issue, sharing a video of the protesting students and writing on X, “Re-NEET is the only solution to this corruption. Every hardworking student of India deserves fair opportunities.”

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NSUI wades in

NSUI on Friday also waded into the matter. The likes of its national president Varun Choudhary and Congress leader and activist Kanhaiya Kumar slammed the National Testing Agency — which conducts the NEET — for the alleged irregularities in the results.

Kumar, during an interaction with reporters, urged BJP — which has been in power for 10 years now and earlier this week won the Lok Sabha elections the third consecutive time — to “stop playing with the future” of NEET aspirants.

He questioned the logic behind the NEET results being announced on 4 June when the designated date was 14 June.

He alleged that the NTA did this because the Lok Sabha election results were announced that day, and everyone would be so busy with them that no one would have time to listen to the students.

He also called for a stricter law to deal with paper leaks — one of the allegations this year behind the irregularities in the results.

 Related: Increase in cut-off, toppers reflect NEET’s competitive nature, says NTA

NEET results controversy

The results of NEET-UG 2024 showed 67 candidates achieved full marks (720 out of 720), which led to allegations on social media of a paper-leak scam.

Scorecards showing marks of 718 or 719 also surfaced, raising further questions. The controversy stemmed from NEET’s marking scheme, which awards four marks for each correct answer and deducts one mark for each incorrect one.

Thus, after the full score of 720, the next possible score should be 716 if one question is unanswered and 715 if one question is answered incorrectly. This discrepancy in scores has fueled suspicion.

Adding to the speculation, the merit list released by the NTA revealed that eight students from the same examination centre — in Haryana — scored 720 marks, further intensifying discussions about potential irregularities.

The cut-off scores this year were also significantly higher, with students scoring less than 660 marks having slim chances of securing admission to government medical colleges.

This was a sharp increase from the previous year, when students with 600 marks were able to secure seats in government colleges.

These concerns, particularly in light of the persistent rumours about the paper leak, raised serious questions about the credibility of NEET.

The NTA also awarded grace marks as per court order, but students argued that this sudden decision was unjust as the agency did not clarify the methodology used to award these grace marks. Calls for transparency in the process have intensified.

The controversy surrounding NEET has grown to a point where lakhs of students are demanding a re-examination, citing the lack of clarity in the NTA’s explanations.

They have even sought the intervention of the Supreme Court in the matter.

Related: Plea in SC for fresh NEET-UG 2024 exam after paper leak charges

Case in court

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought to know the NTA’s stand on a petition filed by a NEET-UG candidate raising a grievance regarding a question that had two correct answers in the answer key.

A vacation bench of Justice DK Sharma asked the NTA’s counsel to seek instructions on the petition.

The petitioner prayed that equal marks should be awarded to those who did not attempt the question as had been done for those who marked either of the two correct answers.

The petition also said the principle of fairness in a competitive examination mandated that all candidates be evaluated on an equal footing.

It even alleged that the authorities compromised fairness by awarding marks to two correct options when the instructions clearly indicated that only one option was correct.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)