Published: 15th September 2020
This Bihar UPSC aspirant has been on a hunger strike for 5 days to get the prelims postponed
The students have been appealing to various authorities through social media platforms, seeking a postponement until the COVID curve plateaus
Despite a rise in COVID cases across the country, the Union Public Service Commission is set to hold the Civil Service (Preliminary) Examination as scheduled, on October 4. This has created a lot of hue and cry among the students who have been appealing to various authorities through social media platforms, seeking a postponement until the COVID curve plateaus. Priya Kumari is one of them. Hailing from Patna, this engineering graduate is all set to write the examination for the second time.
However, Priya isn't just tweeting against the exam. Instead, she has apparently started an indefinite hunger strike until the government authorities postpone the exam. On what is believed to be the fifth day of her strike, we spoke to her. Since Friday, Priya says that she hasn't had any food. "I occasionally drink a glass of water, that is what keeps me going," she says. "This is actually difficult for a foodie like me who likes to munch on something every half-an-hour. But the will to make my voice heard is what keeps me going," she says. "The students have been continuously pleading to the government, but all our cries went unheard. This seemed like the last attempt," she adds.
Priya believes that the UPSC must hold the examination only a couple of months later after the COVID situation is under control. "The COVID cases are on a rise. Apart from that, the lockdown has created a disaster in the country. So many people have lost their incomes and are still recovering from the newfound poverty. Apart from that, a lot of COVID warriors are aspiring to write the exam. If the UPSC conducts the exam in October, it is depriving a lot of them of the opportunity of writing the exam," says Priya, who also lauded the NEET and JEE aspirants for their struggle.
She adds that the UPSC can easily afford to postpone the exam, since the 'loss of academic year' factor here. "This is just a recruitment exam," she says. She also spoke students who immediately had to leave the cities where they attended the UPSC coaching, owing to the sudden lockdown. "A lot of them from underprivileged backgrounds couldn't go back to get their books. How will they study," she asks.
Students submit a petition to the UPSC
A delegation of eight UPSC aspirants met the commission officials on Tuesday and submitted a petition to them, seeking the examination's postponement. Apart from the rising number of COVID cases, said the exam is held in two shifts for the same set of students and this will lead to a chance to flouting COVID protocols. "UPSC-CSE examinees are exposed to the vagaries of life, hence the fear of examination is not a factor here. But the pandemic necessitates a prudent approach to life, " reads their petition. "Aspirants are not pressing for a postponement every year. Unprecedented situations demand unprecedented measures," it reads.