India World

As India reports highest single-day infections worldwide, government adamant to hold exams, students protest

Thousands of Indians took the streets in various Indian cities on Friday against a government plan to hold exams for millions of students during the coronavirus pandemic, as the daily tally of infections hit a record.

India reported 77,266 infections, taking the nation’s tally to 3.3 million, with a toll of 61,529 deaths. India, with the most infections in Asia, has posted the highest single-day increase worldwide every day since Aug. 7.

“Stop the exam during the pandemic,” read one placard carried by protesters in the eastern city of Kolkata, while others scuffled briefly with police in the western industrial city of Ahmedabad.

More than 2.4 million students are set to take tests next week for admission to medical and engineering schools, which the federal government has declined to defer, despite growing pressure from students and opposition parties.

“It’s important that the government listens to students,” Rahul Gandhi, a leader of the opposition Congress party said urging no compromises on the safety of students.

Usually held in April and May, the exams have already been postponed twice this year.

But some students want another delay, for fear of rising infections as well as difficulty travelling to exam centers because of virus-linked curbs on transport and lockdowns in some places.