SSC paper leak: Protests continue even after committee recommends CBI probe; candidates demand written assurance
Even as SSC decided to recommend a CBI inquiry into alleged paper leak, agitating candidates vowed not to stop protests until they got a written assurance.
Even as the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), which conducts the examination for subordinate services, decided to recommend a CBI inquiry into the alleged paper leak in one of its tests on Sunday, agitating candidates vowed not to withdraw their movement until they receive a written assurance from the government.
"The SSC has a history of changing its stance. So, we cannot trust their word until we are given a written assurance that a CBI enquiry would be conducted," says Pradeep Kumar, an aspirant who has been protesting since the last few days.
A report in The Indian Express quoted Union home minister Rajnath Singh as saying, "We have accepted the demands of protesting candidates and have given orders for a CBI enquiry... the protests should now stop."
Thousands of aspirants have been protesting in front of the office of Staff Selection Commission at CGO complex in Delhi since 27 February, demanding a CBI enquiry. The alleged scam, which according to the candidates was made possible by leaking question papers on the internet, came to light via a website.
The website is said to have uploaded screenshots of the leaked question papers soon after the exam started and the SSC had to cancel one exam which that was held on 21 February.
"Soon after they were published by the website, it became a big issue among the candidates," said Praveen Kumar, a protesting aspirant.
The screenshots of the question paper went viral on social media, forcing the SSC to rescheduled the exam stating 'technical reasons'.
But the Commission had refused to accept that the question papers were leaked. Rather Ashim Khurana, chairman of the Commission, in a statement issued on 28 February, alleged that the protests were an outcome of instigation.
"It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the present agitation near the office of the Commission by some candidates of Combined Graduate Level Exam (Tier-II) 2017, is being actively instigated and sponsored by two coaching institutes/agencies with vested interests," a statement issued by the Commission said.
Aam Admi Party leader Alka Lamba, who was also present at the protest, told Firstpost that though the government has agreed to conduct a CBI enquiry, the candidates cannot trust their words. "We hope that the government will listen to them and issue a written assurance to them," she said.
The question papers were made available to the candidates online during the exam. The candidates raised questions as to how the screenshots of the question papers were available just after the exam as no one was allowed to take mobile phones or any other gadgets inside the exam halls.
"More than 300 screenshots of these question papers were available online just after the exams began. How did these question papers come out of the exam hall?" asked another candidate Vasant Kanoujia.
"It is technically possible to solve a question paper outside the exam hall online and submit the same in a manner making it appear that it was answered by someone sitting in the hall. But this kind of cheating cannot be done without active and clandestine support from someone in the SSC," he said.
The SSC conducts exams to fill up vacancies in all the ministries under the Government of India and a leakage of question papers of these exams is seen as a serious threat.
Anuj Katariya, a candidate from Haryana asked, "How will India protect itself from its enemies if the officials and subordinates in the Government of India itself are recruited by shady means?"
The candidates denied to withdraw protests until a written assurance from the government is received.
"The SSC has given consent for a CBI enquiry into the allegations of question paper leak. But there are also similar allegations of answer key leak and doubtful marking system in the exams. These allegations are also to be enquired by the CBI. Moreover, the enquiry should be time-bound," said candidate Gautam Srivastava from Uttar Pradesh.
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