Published: 22nd August 2020
Student who petitioned the Supreme Court against conducting JEE, NEET allegedly facing threats, abuses, asking him to back off
A group of 11 students across the country had signed the petition which sought a postponement of JEE and NEET. considering the number of COVID cases
A NEET aspirant, who petitioned the Supreme Court seeking postponement of JEE and NEET says that he has been receiving threatening messages and phone calls, asking him to stop supporting the cause. Manas Chandra, a student from Bihar who is one of the 11 petitioners told Edexlive that he has now stopped answering calls from unknown numbers.
"Some of these messages are threats. Others are indecent slurs. Some have even offered me gifts asking me to stop fighting this cause," says Manas. Hailing from Saran in Bihar, he now thinks that chances of him writing the entrance examination in September are quite slim. "My exam centre is in Patna which is 120 kilometres away from home. There are two routes that go to Patna. While one is quite long, the other one is flooded. Also, inter-city public transport has not been restored in most Indian cities," he says.
For Manas, who dropped two years preparing for NEET, this will be quite a difficult choice to make. "My parents have been asking me to write the exam, come what may, but that was when the Bihar floods happened. We are barely able to manage essentials these days, so writing the entrance will be quite difficult," he laments. At the same time, he believes that he is among the luckiest of the lot. "Ever since the 11 petitioners' Twitter handle and Telegram group became active, I have been receiving messages from students across states, sharing their worries. A lot of them are from really poor families, with exam centres hundreds of kilometres away from them," he says, adding that this is a stressful situation to be in.
The petitioners' story
The petition that was dismissed by the Supreme Court of India on August 17 was filed by 11 students across the country, who have been aspiring to write NEET or JEE or both. The chief petitioner was Sayantan Biswas, an aspirant from Kolkata, who is set to write both NEET and JEE. "I dropped a year preparing for NEET. But that was when I thought of attempting JEE prelims earlier this year and my marks were quite good," he says. Sayantan adds that he got in touch with the other petitioners after lawyer Anubha Srivastava Sahai asked students who wanted to petition this to reach out to her.
Sayantan says that he may write the exam, but he is definitely under a lot of stress, just like Manas. "My parents have been asking me to write the entrance exams," he says. "But, the developments are quite scary and confusing. At one point, you would hear a positive piece of news that makes you hopeful and in a jiffy, it turns negative," he says.
The NTA, which conducts the entrance exams, has now released the dates and the admit cards. However, the students say that their only hope right now is Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy. "Swamy sir was quite helpful. He called out the issues here and tweeted in our support as soon as we reached out to him," says Manas. Swamy had written a letter to the Prime Minister, asking him to conduct these entrances after Diwali. "He is our only hope now," he says.