Mark list row in Kerala: CPI(M) calls allegations against Arsho a conspiracy against SFI, college blames ‘technical error’

SFI state secretary Arsho said he suspects faculty purposefully made the ‘error’ in retaliation to a complaint filed by the SFI.

BySreerag PS

Published Jun 07, 2023 | 3:40 PMUpdatedJun 07, 2023 | 5:42 PM

Arsho demanded a further probe into the exam result and the subsequent controversy. (Supplied)

Kerala is a paradox where even a “technical error” could spark a controversy that could rage for days, until another one crops up.

The SFI, the students’ arm of the ruling CPI(M), is facing two controversies. One involves its state secretary.

PM Arsho is a former post-graduate student of Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam. He has been accused of clearing the third semester without appearing for the exams. His mark sheet showed marks received as zero, but was stamped “passed”.

The Kerala Students Union (KSU), the students’ wing of the Congress in the state, was the first to raise the allegation. Others, including the media, took it forward.

Arsho remained silent as the controversy raged. He was at Edamalakkudy, a remote tribal hamlet in Ernakulam, and came to know of the issue late.

The SFI leader said he had not even registered for the Archeology examination which he “passed”.

“Let me clarify that the mark list that is being circulated in the news and social media is not mine,” he told South First.

“I haven’t appeared for the said examination. Even the list of students published are not even my classmates,” he said.

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College clarifies

College principal VS Joy told reporters in Kochi that a technical error had caused the confusion.

“What happened in Arsho’s case was a technical error. The marks are zero but the mark sheet erroneously mentioned ‘passed’,” he said on Wednesday, 7 June. The college has made a formal complaint in this regard.

“We have rectified the error. The NIC (National Information Centre) handles the software here and there several errors that have crept in,” Joy said.

The explanations by Arsho and the college did not pacify the Opposition. It alleged a nexus between the SFI and college authorities.

The controversy became so huge that even CPI(M) state secretary MV Govindan was forced to make a statement. He suspected a huge conspiracy by certain forces behind the controversy.

“A person who had not appeared for the examination has passed and the result has been published along with the students of another batch. This is what the media is saying. This is a huge conspiracy against the SFI and it requires an in-depth investigation,” he said.

Also read: SFI finds no fault in its ‘protest’ at Asianet News office in Kochi

Arsho’s version

The SFI leader said the college authorities included his name along with the students of his junior batch.

“My result has already been published in October last year. The result mentioned that I was absent during the examination,” Arsho said.

He clarified that there was no one in his junior batch with the same name. “There isn’t anyone with the same name. It is just me,” he added.

Arsho demanded a further probe into the exam result and the subsequent controversy. He suspected the teaching faculty and the Head of the Department (HoD) had played a role in the matter.

“The college union had made complaints against the HoD, pointing out errors in the reevaluation results of a student. An investigation is underway. We suspect this was in retaliation to our complaints,” he told South First.

State Higher Education Minister R Bindu told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that the matter would be investigated.

BJP state president K Surendran, too, called for a detailed probe. “A detailed probe should be conducted to find out the culprits who made him pass the exam that he had not written,” Surendran said. The role of the college authorities, too, should be probed, he demanded.

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Another controversy

Arsho’s case was not the only controversy involving the SFI. Another SFI activist and former student of Maharaja’s, Vidya, allegedly forged an experience certificate saying she had been a “guest lecturer” in the Malayalam Department of the college.

She reportedly submitted it to an interview panel of a college in Attappady, Palakkad.

The seal and logo on the certificate made some panelists suspicious. They cross-checked with Maharaja’s and were told that no guest lecturers have been appointed in the Malayalam Department for more than a decade.

The college also lodged a police complaint against the accused. A case was registered against Vidya.

When asked about the controversy over Vidya’s certificate, Arsho requested not to club both issues together. He said that he is not the right person to respond to the allegations against her.