A students' group from the Hyderabad Central University (HCU), also known as the University of Hyderabad (UoH), has raised suspicion over the "excessive" number of PhD aspirants who took the entrance exam at the New Delhi centre, being called for the admission interview. The Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA), a popular students body at the University, has alleged that there are malpractices in the entrance examinations held for PhD in Political Science and Hindi subjects.
In an open statement issued by the ASA, the students have said, "Disproportionate presence of candidates from a specific centre is more pronounced in the case of departments like Political Science, Hindi and so on."
The ASA has further said that since 57 students, which is close to 50% of the 120 shortlisted candidates for Political Science, are from the same centre, the suspicion cannot be dismissed. In Hindi, 49 out of 111 shortlisted candidates are from the same centre, they have pointed out.
The ASA has stated that such lapses in the procedure can put the "reputation of the university at stake" and demanded a probe into the issue.
Speaking to TNM, Iniyavan Bhanumathi, ASA President, said, "When there is any kind of disproportionate representation in the University and allegations are raised over the same, it is the responsibility of the University to conduct a probe and give a forthright explanation."
He added, "Usually, there might be students from a specific region enrolling in higher numbers for certain courses. But when it's the case for a specific course from a specific centre, it raises suspicion. And that too when the percentage is almost 50, it becomes more suspicious."
It may be recalled that in February 2019, there were allegations that the question paper for the Political Science departmentâ€™s PhD entrance exam for 2018 was leaked to a section of applicants. This had sparked a row at the time. Several anonymous posters were put up across the University campus, claiming that Assistant Professor Veerababu had leaked the entrance exam paper to a group of â€śright wing studentsâ€ť.
A report in The Wire quoted a student from the Political Science department alleging that the professor had leaked the question paper to a student belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who had in turn leaked the paper to others who were also part of the ABVP. However, an internal vigilance committee that was formed to probe the allegations, did not find any "malpractices" or "irregularities".
In the wake of fresh allegations, TNM reached out to officials of the concerned wing that looks after entrance examinations. A senior official from the University administration said that a probe had been conducted soon after the allegations surfaced, and that there have been no lapses in conducting the exam.
The officer, who didn't want to be named, said, "We have conducted a probe with the centre coordinators and OMR sheets, no lapses were found. Given the number of applicants taking the exam, in that specific centre, qualified candidates could have been in a higher number."
The officer, while ruling out the allegations, said that the timing points to the rivalry among the student groups, and claimed that those who have not made it to the interview are making the allegations.
The officer said that all the candidates are welcome to cross-check their OMR sheets, and that they have officially announced answer keys to clear their doubts.