L - Greta Thunberg, R - Sonu Sood
L - Greta Thunberg, R - Sonu Sood

In the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, several activists and politicians have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assess the risk and postpone the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) until the situation becomes conducive to hold the exams.

From Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, to climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg, here’s how the campaign to postpone exams united activists of the world

Sonu Sood

Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who has become the common man’s saviour during the COVID-19 pandemic weighed in on the postponement of the JEE and NEET exams.

Sonu’s tweet read, “It’s my request to (the) government of India, to postpone the #Neet/#JEE exams in the current situation of the country! In the given #COVID19 situation, we should care utmost & not risk the lives of students! #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID.”

Licypriya Kangujam

8-year-old climate and environmental activist Licypriya Kangujam took to Twitter and wrote, “Exam Centres will be same like Concentration Camp. If you’re lucky, you will survive. If you’re unlucky, you will return to COVID hospital or grave instead of home. But many will dead. Why Government playing lives of millions of students in COVID?”

Greta Thunberg

Swedish teen climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg threw her weight behind postponing the NEET and the JEE exams in India in view of the coronavirus, saying it is "deeply unfair" that students are asked to appear in the crucial tests during the pandemic.

Voicing her support to the calls for the deferment of the key national examinations, Thunberg took to Twitter, saying it is deeply unfair for the students.

"It's deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the Covid-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods. I stand with their call to #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID," she said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Thunberg, 17, has returned to school after a gap of one year.

Dr Subramanian Swamy

BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has written a letter to PM Narendra Modi about postponing of these entrance exams.

"I urge the Government of India. Don’t put us all to shame. Postpone the exams to December," said Swamy, while talking about the issue.

Swamy also said that If the Narendra Modi-led Government goes through imposing the NEET/JEE exam now, it will be the "giant mistake" like ‘Nasbandi’ in 1976 that caused the undoing of Indira government in 1977.

The leader took to Twitter and wrote, "If our Modi Government goes through imposing the NEET/JEE exam now it will be the giant mistake like Nasbandi in 1976 that caused the undoing of Indira government in 1977. Indian voters may suffer silently but have long memories.”

Several students and political leaders across the country, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray, and DMK President M K Stalin among others, have urged the central government to postpone the examination until the spread of the COVID-19 was brought under control.

The chorus for postponing the various examinations, including NEET and JEE, grew louder on Sunday with over 4,000 students observing a day-long hunger strike to press for the demand in view of the rising COVID-19 cases.

The protest came on a day Gandhi said the government must listen to the 'mann ki baat' of students and arrive at "an acceptable solution" and his party demanded that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) be deferred.

According to the leftist All India Students Association (AISA), over 4,200 students observed the day-long hunger strike at their respective home demanding that CBSE compartment exams of Classes 10 and 12 be cancelled and entrance exams such as the UGC-NET, CLAT, NEET and JEE be postponed.

Aspirants appear in the JEE for admission into the premier engineering colleges and the NEET for undergraduate medical courses.

The JEE (Main) is scheduled to be held between September 1 and 6, while the JEE (Advanced) on September 27. The NEET will be held on September 13.

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