A number of students protesting outside the official residence of the Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant in the city were detained by police Monday afternoon.
Around 40-odd students were demanding the postponement of the upcoming HSSC and SSC examinations conducted by the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, or holding them via online mode.
The protesting students displaying placards, some of which read ‘Exams in COVID is suicide,’ ‘Exams should be postponed, students lives matter’, ‘Students fighting two pandemics: COVID and Stupidity’.
The protest is being supported by the Goa unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI).
The president of NSUI Goa, Ahraz Mulla said that the students initially went to Goa Board headquarters, at Porvorim, Monday morning, after which they moved to the official residence of the Chief Minister, where they were detained.
He stated that the students were protesting peacefully and pressing for their genuine demand when they were detained by the police and taken to the Pernem police station, almost 40 kms away from Panaji.
The students have been demanding that the Goa Board examinations should be postponed in lines with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) exams, considering the outbreak of COVID-19 in Goa.
They alleged that many of the students are already suffering from the dreaded virus and they are afraid of writing their board exams in such a situation.
After a vague reply from the secretary of the Goa board of education the students threatened to move to Altinho-Panaji to gherao the Chief Minister’s house where they were arrested and taken to Pernem.
Approximately 69,000 people comprising students, parents and fellow Goans have signed an online petition demanding that the HSSC and SSC exams should be cancelled.
Meanwhile, a Goa Board official said that the said exams would be held as per the schedule by taking all preventive measures, in view of the ongoing pandemic.
Altogether 19,247 students have registered for answering the HSSC exam commencing from April 24, while 24,300 students have registered for the SSC exam scheduled to start during mid-May.