The Uttar Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test (UPTET) scheduled to be held on Sunday was cancelled after a question paper for the exam was leaked, an officer announced before the exam was to begin.
In a statement the Uttar Pradesh government said 29 people have been arrested in this connection while chief minister Yogi Adityanath said he will invoke the National Security Act and Gangster Act against the culprits.
Close to 20 lakh candidates were to appear for the Uttar Pradesh Teachers Eligibility Test (UPTET) on Sunday.
They will now appear in a rescheduled exam, to be held within a month.
The Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board (UPBEB) will conduct the exam again after one month. The government will bear the entire expenditure on the re-examination, said Basic Education Department additional chief secretary Deepak Kumar.
Opposition parties slammed the Yogi government for the breach of security and accused it of abetting corruption in the state.
Of the 29 arrests, 16 were made from Prayagraj, the government statement said.
Those arrested in Prayagraj include Satya Prakash Singh, an assistant teacher at a primary school in the city’s Shankargarh area. When searched, he was found to have the solved question paper in his WhatsApp. Rajendra Patel–the alleged mastermind of the whole operation and Chaturbhuj Singh, one of the key players, were also among those arrested from Prayagraj, according to the statement.
Besides, police arrested other members of the gang, including one Sunny Singh, who was instrumental in sourcing solvers from Bihar, the statement said.
Four persons were arrested from Lucknow district and one each from Kaushambi, Ayodhya, and Ambedkarnagar.
Three persons were arrested from Shamli district. These three had procured 10 copies of the question paper for Rs 5 lakh and had taken Rs 50,000 from 50-60 candidates each to give them access to the papers for reading and memorising.
Search is on for the rest of the members of the gang, the government said.
“A question paper was leaked. I issued an order to cancel the examination and arrest the entire racket. Instructions were also given to conduct the exam within a month, and that no candidate should be charged additional fee,” Adityanath said addressing a function in Deoria district on Sunday.
He said orders were given to transport the students back to their home towns in Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses free of cost on the basis of their admit cards.
“Those who have committed this act should listen that cases will be registered against them under the Gangster Act and the National Security Act,” he said.
Later in a Hindi tweet, the CM said properties will be seized by the government of those involved in the act.
Additional director general (ADG) law and order, Prashant Kumar earlier in the day said the matter will be probed by the UP Special Task Force and people or organisations involved in it will not be spared.
The situation at centres was under control and announcements were made there to urge the candidates to go back to their homes, added the officer.
UP’s basic education minister Satish Dwivedi said the exam–in both shifts–was cancelled immediately after the leak came to surface and promised strict action against the culprits.
From the arrested persons, photocopies of the question papers, mobile phones, pen drives, notes and other items were recovered, the UP government said.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said such incidents have become a norm under BJP’s rule in the state.
“Cancellation of the UPTET examination due to the leak of the question paper is like playing with the future of nearly 20 lakh aspirants. Paper leaks, cancellation of the examination is common in the BJP government,” he said in a Hindi tweet.
“Corruption in education in UP is at an all-time high. The unemployed will usher in a revolution, and there will be a change in 2022,” he said.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too alleged that corruption in education and recruitment has become common under the BJP.
BSP chief Mayawati in a tweet in Hindi criticised the BJP and also the previous SP government for such incidents and asked for a high-level probe into the matter from the current government.
“The UP government must take this incident very seriously, get a high-level probe done, ensure that the guilty are punished, and make concrete arrangements to reconduct this examination. This is the demand of the BSP,” she said.
The UP Basic Education Board has said candidates will not have to pay any fee again for the exam.
The exact date of the UPTET exam will be notified in due course of time, the UP government said.
The exam was scheduled to be conducted at exam centres across 75 districts of UP.
The exam was to be held in two shifts–10 am to 12.30 pm for the primary level and from 2.30 pm to 5 pm for the junior level.
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