Assam Police question 7 students in Sivasagar on alleged SEBA Geography paper leak that government dismissed

Guwahati: Both Assam CM and Education Minister dismissed the purported leak of geography paper maintaining it was an “attempt to disrupt the entire atmosphere”

BY | Sunday, 19 March, 2023

(Combining related stories)

Seven students in Assam’s Sivasagar district are being questioned in connection with the alleged leak of Class 10 state board’s Geography paper, police said on Sunday.

They are all ‘admins’ of a WhatsApp group through which the purported first page of the Geography question paper was circulated on Saturday, he said.

Sivasagar SP Subhrajyoti Borah told PTI that they had received a request from their Nagaon counterparts for calling these students for questioning.

Two students stayed overnight at the children’s room in the police station, while the rest returned home and have been called for further questioning on Sunday, Borah said.

“Nagaon Police team has also reached here and are taking forward the investigation,” he added.

A matric examinee was arrested in Nagaon on Saturday on the basis of a case lodged at Nagaon Sadar police station on the complaint of the district’s Inspector of Schools, Assam Police spokesperson Prasanta Kumar Bhuyan had said.

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At least 32 people, including several students, have already been apprehended for their alleged involvement in the leak of the General Science and Assamese papers.

Two teachers, Pranab Dutta and Kumud Rajkhowa, have been identified as the masterminds in the leak of the two question papers last week, and were arrested in Lakhimpur.

The duo was brought to the CID headquarters here on Saturday and are currently in custody of the investigating agency.

Read more: Assam paper leak: Masterminds being brought to CID HQ in Guwahati

Assam: CID probe ordered on board question paper leak; issue resonates in state Assembly

The Assam government, meanwhile, has dismissed reports of the Geography paper leak, claiming attempts were made to “disrupt the entire environment” after purported photographs of a geography paper went viral on social media.

The purported first page of the geography question paper started doing rounds on social media, particularly WhatsApp, since around 11 am on Saturday, leading to panic among the aspirants.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Education Minister Ranoj Pegu quickly dismissed the purported leak of geography paper, the exam for which is scheduled on Monday, maintaining it was an “attempt to disrupt the entire atmosphere”.

However, Pegu claimed that the geography question paper of 2021 was edited and circulated on social media, leading to confusion among examinees as no class 10 board exam was held that year due to the raging COVID pandemic.

Denying any leak of geography question paper, the CM tweeted, “It appears that certain groups of people are attempting to disrupt the entire atmosphere by fabricating false leaks of the High School Leaving Certificate exam papers.”

“@assampolice will investigate the matter to ascertain the identities of the groups and take appropriate actions,” he added.

Pegu also maintained that no question paper was leaked.

“The Geography Question Paper circulated in social media allegedly of leak is fake. SEBA authority has confirmed that it is fake. Instructed concerned officer to lodge FIR in Police station,” he tweeted.

He also claimed before a television channel that a student from Nagaon has been identified for “editing an old question paper and circulating it”.

“Many groups are spreading misinformation in a pre-planned manner since the commencement of class 10 exam this year. Social media doesn’t conduct the exam, SEBA does. I urge the students not to be swayed by anything on social media unless the Board confirms it,” Pegu said.

He also shared on Twitter two screenshots — one of the first page of the original geography question paper of 2021 and the other of the allegedly edited one circulated during the day with claims that it was of this year.

This led to confusion as class 10 examination was not held in 2021 and question papers were not given to students.

Both class 10 exams under SEBA and class 12 exams under Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (ASHEC) in 2021 were cancelled after being initially postponed due to the pandemic.

The results were announced based on an evaluation process recommended by two expert committees set up for the purpose.

The pass percentage in 2021 for Class 10 state board students zoomed to over 93 per cent from less than 65 per cent in the previous year.

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