The Congress on Wednesday announced that it will hold countrywide protests on August 28 to oppose the government's decision to hold NEET, JEE exams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said the move is in line with concerted opposition to this "dictatorial move" of the government.
State units of the Congress will be holding protests on August 28 at 11 am in front of central government offices at state and district headquarters, he said.
In a statement, Venugopal said lakhs of students and parents from across the country are rightfully agitating and demanding postponement of the JEE-NEET exams, scheduled to be held in September.
He said the government's decision to hold these exams during the COVID-19 crisis has created huge concern among the students and parents.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"Apart from the very obvious vulnerability to and risk of infection, the decision to hold the exams will undoubtedly make it increasingly difficult for students to appear for the exams due to the availability of limited transport and lodging during the pandemic.
"While holding exams during the COVID-19 pandemic has put the students in a state of extreme mental stress, the grim flood situation in states like Assam and Bihar will further put students from those states at a severe disadvantage," he said.
Venugopal said all these protest gatherings will take place following strict social distancing protocols issued by the respective health and civic authorities.
He said the party has also decided to organise a massive nationwide online campaign, #SpeakUpForStudentSaftey on the same day from 10 am onwards, through videos and posts protesting this decision, on any of the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said health and safety of 25 lakh students are being jeopardised in the ensuing JEE, NEET exams as students are protesting across the country.
He also wondered why the government was "refusing to listen to their grievances, deliberate upon them and find a solution acceptable to all".
Posing a set of questions, Surjewala asked who will "oversee that the guidelines and protocols do not remain an empty paper formality".
He further asked what special arrangements have been made for students of flood affected Bihar and Assam.There has been growing chorus for postponement of the NEET-JEE exams.