Hyderabad: The state unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) filed a petition in Telangana High Court on 9 June challenging the decision to conduct undergraduate and postgraduate examinations from 20 June in the state.

The NSUI demanded cancellation of exams in the state and said conducting exams during a pandemic is illegal and puts the lives of thousands of students at risk. It alleged that the students, especially the final-year students, had been under mental stress during the past two months and are not prepared to write the exams in view of the pandemic.

Mohammed Sohail Uddin, the general secretary of NSUI's Telangana unit, said, "All educational institutions were closed from 22 March in view of the lockdown following which majority of the students went home. Every day the number of positive cases is increasing in the state, especially in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits and also other districts. This has caused the students mental stress and they are not prepared to write the exams under such circumstances." He also explained the risks of COVID-19 transmission from students who will come from containment and red zones.

"Most of the students come from different districts and states and have no place to stay here. If they stay in the hostels, then they put themselves at risk. Also, lakhs of students were unable to attend online classes during the lockdown due to lack of resources and are unprepared for the exams," he further added.

Meanwhile, the NSUI state president, Venkat Balmoor, said, "It will be difficult for students from other states and districts to come to Hyderabad to write their exams. Even if they somehow reach the city, they will face problems finding accommodation in hostels as landlords may be unwilling to risk letting out rooms to them."

Mr. Balmoor asked universities to consider the students' request to cancel all exams and instead promote all students like IIT Kanpur. "The Telangana government has promoted all SSC students without conducting final exams. The UG/PG students are also facing the same problems. Students of JNTUH and OU have submitted representations to the concerned authorities requesting them to promote all students without conducting examinations," he said, adding despite several representations from and grievances of the students the universities have released a schedule for the exams set to begin on 20 June which is "illegal, arbitrary, and contrary to the COVID-19 guidelines".

Thousands of students from Telangana took to social media to demand cancellation of exams earlier this week. The hashtag #CancelTSExamsPromoteStudents was trending on 3 June.

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