Patna: Cheating in the Class 10 exams continued in Bihar on Saturday, with police having to fire in the air at an examination centre in Vaishali’s Hajipur area and carry out a baton charge in Ara, Bhojpur’s district headquarters, to disperse people who were helping students to copy. No one was injured in police firing in Vaishali and Bhojpur districts, an official said.

climbing the buildingA Picture of youths climbing the building of an examination centre to help candidates cheat sparked public outrage. File Pic

A day after being reprimanded by the Patna High Court, the Bihar government enforced a crackdown and apprehended over 900 people, including students and parents, from different exam centres in the state for cheating in the ongoing matriculation examination.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s expressed “pain” over the wide publicity given to the pictures showing cheating in the state, and said it had sullied the image of Bihar. His strict orders to stop the rampant copying had its impact on Saturday with the police apprehending 213 students and 712 parents, relatives, friends of examinees from different parts of the state, Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Gupteshwar Pandey said. A total of 551 examinees have been expelled across the state for using unfair means on a single day today and penalty of Rs 13 lakh imposed, the ADG said.

The development came just days after a photograph showing people climbing a school wall to fling answer sheets to students taking tests inside went viral and grabbed national and international headlines. Over 1.4 million students are appearing in the Class 10 board examination.

In Patna, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Upendra Kushwaha on Saturday said the central government has taken the reports of rampant cheating and mass copying seriously, and will seek a report from Bihar on the incidents of widespread cheating.

“It appears to be a failure of the state government to check cheating,” he added. He said the Patna High Court has rightly pointed out that it was “very shameful” for Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi, who said it was not possible to hold free and fair exams. “Shahi should resign in view of the court’s observation against him,” Kushwaha said.