Sleep deprived and tired, Govind Sharma was sitting on the staircase leading to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Metro station on Thursday. The 21-year-old came all the way from Panipat after learning that the answer key of the Staff Service Selection (SSC) exam he took on February 17 was allegedly leaked.
Learning about the leak through social media, hundreds of SSC aspirants from across the country gathered at the SSC office in CGO complex. They have been protesting for the past three days, demanding a CBI enquiry into the matter.
Gourab Ghosh (25) came from West Bengal to join the protest. Having missed the cut-off by a margin of 0.1% last year, the allegations of a leak hurt him more. “In the last two years, I have been missing the cutoff by just 0.1 %. Hearing that the paper was leaked is very disheartening for a sincere student,” he said.
According to students, rampant cheating was seen during the exam. “In my centre at Badarpur, answersheets were found in the toilet. We called police but no action was taken after that,” alleged Aakash Yadav (25), who has written at least 10 SSC exams for different posts.
Others claimed to have seen videos of aspirants taking down answers from an answer key downloaded on a computer. “Between February 17 and 21, the Tier-II Combined Graduate Level (CGL) exam was held. At the centre, where I wrote the exam, we are not even allowed to take our belts or ATM cards. Later, we saw videos of centres where students had taken mobile phones and were cheating. This was not the first time such things have happened during exams conducted by the SSC. We discussed the matter on social media and decided to come here and protest,” Sharma, a graduate from Kurukshetra University, said.
Another aspirant, Jasbir Singh (24), from Punjab’s Ropar, said: “My parents are very angry with me, and have now asked me to work at the family farm. Who will explain the matter to them? Because of corruption here, all my efforts have gone to waste.”
SSC Chairperson, Ashim Khurana, however, said the protesters had gathered at the behest of two coaching centres. “It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the present agitation going on since yesterday near the Office of the Commission by some candidates of CGLE (Tier-II) 2017, is being actively instigated and sponsored by two coaching institutes/agencies with vested interests. The Commission had agreed to meet the representatives of the agitating group yesterday (Wednesday). During that meeting, they were directed to furnish substantive evidence in support of their allegations. Thereafter, the Commission would take appropriate considered decision in the matter,” Khurana said in a statement.
Different student organisations such as the NSUI and AISA have also extended solidarity to the protesting aspirants. The protesters also alleged that on Wednesday, they were surrounded by police and the Metro station was closed to stop others from joining their protest.