- Telangana Board declared 3.28 lakh as having failed in 1 subject or other
- 26 students committed suicide after large-scale irregularities
- After re-evaluation, it was found 1,137 students actually passed
Hours after declaring high school student Anamika Arutla had in fact passed her Telugu exam by scoring 48 marks as opposed to the 20 originally awarded, the Telangana Board of Intermediate Examination (BIE) claimed a "clerical error" meant her re-evaluated mark was actually only 21.
None of this matters to Anamika though, who was one of 26 students who committed suicide after large-scale irregularities in their exams; she killed herself on the day results were declared. Over three lakh students were declared to have failed, prompting widespread outcry that went all the way to the High Court and led to a mandated re-evaluation of those scripts.
"I think this is not a suicide by her. This is surely a murder by the government. This is a mistake of the government and Globearena and intermediate board," her distraught sister Udaya told NDTV.
Udaya and activists had threatened to go to court regarding the blunders committed by Globarena that they allege pushed many students to take the extreme step. But with the "clerical error" claimed by the Board, the Secretary has said they are not to blame for Anamika's suicide
The BIE had declared results of the intermediate exams (for 11th and 12th standards) on April 18.
It soon found itself fiercely criticised by students and parents for widespread anomalies, some of which were quite extreme; one student's mark sheet showed 00 in Telugu but after a recount, it became 99.
Of the 9.7 lakh students who took the exam, the system declared 3.28 lakh as having failed in one subject or the other. But after re-evaluation, it was found that 1,137 students had actually passed their respective exams.
"Once they said this is not our mistake. It is the students' mistake. 'They did not study well'. But clearly whose mistake is now shown. Obviously this mistake is by the government only," Anamika's sister Udaya said.
"The board kept saying 26 students who committed suicide didn't pass. But what is this? Government murdered these children. How much agony is the family going through," activist Sudhakar told NDTV.
A state government probe pointed to the alleged inability of Globarena Technologies Pvt Ltd to handle the massive amount of data for holding the exam.
Analysts and opposition leaders have alleged that the tender criterion about capacity and experience in dealing with the answer sheets of 9.78 lakh students was allegedly relaxed or waived.
The probe report also claimed "no significant variation has been observed in the pass percentage of 2019 when compared with 2018".
The results row has also taken a political turn with opposition parties accusing Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR as he is popularly known, of inaction.
"We are demanding a judicial probe into this. This is a huge scam. The company that was given the contact for end-to-end technical support was simply not qualified to handle the future of 9.7 lakh children," BJP Telangana chief K Laxman told NDTV.
The Congress also wrote to KCR demanding suspension of the BIE secretary over "callous and corrupt practices" and that the Chief Minister award Rs 25 lakh to families of the students who committed suicide.
Coincidentally, Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the formation of Telangana state. During the agitation for its creation, several students had committed suicide and KCR had promised a "Bangaru Telangana (Golden Telangana)" where the future of youngsters would be bright.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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