New Delhi: A number of students have taken to the comment section of Narendra Modi’s trending video “Precious moments: PM Modi feeding peacocks at his residence” to express their opposition to the Centre’s decision to conduct the NEET and JEE entrance examinations in September.
A significant number of politicians and academicians, and even international climate activist Greta Thunberg, have urged the Indian government to postpone the exams saying it would be “deeply unfair” on the students if they were made to write tests during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier in August, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking the postponement of NEET and the Joint Entrance Exam in view of the COVID-19 pandemic saying that a “precious” academic year of students “cannot be wasted”. Thereafter, the Centre announced that the exams for JEE would be held from September 1 to 6, and NEET on September 13.
While around 9.53 lakh candidates have registered for JEE-Mains and 15.97 lakh students for NEET, there is an apparent sense of unease amongst many of them about appearing for the exams at a time when the country is recording the largest number of COVID-19 cases thus far.
Eager to capture the prime minister’s attention in this matter, a number of students appealed to him in the comment section of his video – in which he is seen feeding a peacock and a pair of peahens and taking a stroll in a lawn in close proximity of dancing peacocks – to pay heed to their demand.
While some of them, like one Seema Bansal simply wrote “postponeneet”, others like Raziullah Ansari demanded that both the exams be postponed by writing, “Please postpone jee and neet sir”.
A few users like Aditya Shekhar laced their comments with sarcasm by saying, “Peacock is more important than lives of students!”
Others still warned that the decision could have political consequences for the BJP. As one of them, Subhadra Rajyaguru, wrote, “If modi wants to hold his position then he has to postpone the exams…. Or else he will be gone in 2024 ……”
A few other users laid the rationale behind postponing the examinations. Ridhi Tiwari was one such person who provided detailed reasoning. “I’m a JEE aspirant and have been preparing for it since last 2 years. I trust my preparation but I’m not sure about examinations. I’m very scared about it as I love my family,” she said.
She wrote about her concern for the health of her father who was diabetic and grandmother who is 75 years old. “How can we conclude that out of 25 lakhs students no one has brought covid 19 with him or her. It’s absolutely practical that at least few hundreds must have already been infected. And what if they would transfer it to other students,” she pointed out.
Maintaining that the examination “holds a very important place” in her life, she went on to add that “nothing is more important than my family. I can’t risk their life…”
Another student, Mina Rai, who spoke for students appearing for NEET, said it was “very frustrating” to be getting new news about the exams each day. Her concern was centred around social distancing during the exams especially in a place like Mumbai, where, she said, the condition was very bad. “Sir I beg u please postpone because I am seeing the situation .. it is getting worse day by day,” she said while making a direct appeal to the PM in the hope that he would understand her `Mann ki baat’.